A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master ★★★½

Way better than it has any right to be, solely on the merits of the direction being the best in the series (Renny Harlin's more populist impulses mesh well with the more surrealistic elements) and the presence of some of the best kills in the Nightmare series, if not the horror genre in general. Another huge pro is that the final sequence is quite a bit better than the climaxes in Freddy's Revenge and Dream Warriors.

The writing is subpar and Freddy's characterization leans more into humor here, though it actually works quite well to balance out the bland two-dimensional performances of the teenage leads. Some of the plotting is haphazard, though less so than most horror movies of the time.

There are at least five top-notch kill sequences here and the effects team FUCKING KILLS IT. Even a couple of throwaway gags like the soul-meatball pizza are insanely well done. Both the roach motel scene and Freddy's demise in the church are done in ways that still leave your jaw on the floor. The roach scene is one of my favorite death sequences of all time: it's an absofuckinglute masterclass.

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