A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

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

Sayonara, Rick-san!

Fortunately I still had a pretty fun time with this, despite it suffering from a fatal flaw which will understandably be make-or-break for some: for the first time, this feels less like the result of a genuine, overall artistic vision, and more like an entry into a franchise. Unlike the others, it has no real themes or point-of-view; it is simply - a new Nightmare movie.

In terms of plot... there is no plot. The movie starts by introducing us to a new cast of characters, while also, unfortunately, disappointingly, killing off the survivors of the last movie. The new characters aren't particularly interesting, but this ends up almost not mattering, because unlike the other movies, they barely feel like they have a real-world to fight against alongside the Krueger struggles.

I'm fairly certain that the majority of this film's screen-time is dreams.

Dream Warriors laid down the foundation for the franchise going forward, and while that one definitely turned Freddy into a much more comedic character... I still felt they were able to balance that with making him feel threatening. For better or worse, this one is where Jokes really become his singular modus operandi.

I don't want to complain too much, though. The fact that Freddy joked and had fun with his kills is what made him the more appealing slasher to me as a kid. (Is a thing which will make you sound deranged if you say it out loud). His goofiness and campiness is a large part of what's made him such an enduring figure, and I still like him for this.

And yeah, this might not be a "good" movie, but it's still certainly a fun one.

The thing that ultimately saves this movie - is also the sole thing which this movie consists of, outside of which there is no meat to be found. The kills. Not all of them are good; the "wet dream" one, in addition to simply being obvious, feels tame and lame; and kung-fu fighting against invisible Freddy was extremely cringe and felt like they ran out of budget or something. But, as mentioned, almost this whole movie is dreams, so if you don't like one, it won't be long until the next.

The roach motel is, imo, the best one here. In this house, we love fucking disgusting body horror.

But also, the way Freddy ends up getting beat in this one has to be the most hilariously random non-sequitur ever. To be fair, Dream Warriors did sort of use up their one "here's how to beat him For Real" card, which inevitably makes it harder going forward, because you can't keep reburying his bones, and you can't just keep repeating the ending of the original with "I'm not afraid of you anymore". A supernatural monster requires some kind of supernatural method of taking him down, after all.

I mean, you can't just kill off a magical, omnipotent dream monster with a stick of dynamite, right?

➡️ A Nightmare on Elm Street Ranked

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