A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

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

This apparently picks up where the last one left off, retaining three of the teen characters: two of which are played by the same actors, but one of which was wisely vacated by Patricia Arquette (she must’ve known better things were coming her way).  Her replacement, however, is godawful.  Tuesday Knight’s work here has to go down as one of the worst performances of all time.  Every line is unrealistically delivered.  I get that it’s Nightmare on Elm Street 4, but it’s not even fun in an over-the-top humorous way.  It’s just bad.  
         This was Renny Harlin’s third film, and the last one he would do before experiencing box office success with Die Hard 2.  I’ve always thought of Harlin as a competent-to-skilled director with an appreciation for stylization bordering on camp.  This, however, isn’t even effective on a B-movie level.  It contains nothing that made the previous film effective, which was not taking itself too seriously, but making sure all the kills were creative, with cool effects.  
          One fun bit had Freddy drowning Joey (Do we even care who’s who) in his water bed, and then saying, “Now that’s what I call a wet dream.”   Moments like this are too far and few between unfortunately.  There is a nightmare sequence on a beach where Freddy’s glove moves through the ocean like a shark fin which was kinda cool.  
          The movie is directed like a Twin Peaks episode, but without any of the underlying creepiness.  
          Robert Englund doesn’t even seem like he’s having fun in this one, which pretty much makes watching it a pointless endeavor.  
         One of the characters, Kincaid, in the scene where he watches Freddy’s buried remains reanimate before his eyes, has his dog with him.  I thought it was funny that the dog’s name was Jason.  Not sure if that was an intentional Friday the 13th reference or not, given the eventual meeting of the two killers.  
         Another character is pulled into a movie theater screen, which made me think Last Action Hero may have lifted the idea from this, and there’s another part where all of the murdered kids are toppings on a pizza.  Then a girl turns into a giant roach.  
           Writing this review, it appears that there’s more going on than there actually was.  I feel like the problem was the filmmaking and the writing, which leaves nothing else of any substance to be experienced.
           Co-written by Brian Helgeland, who would go on to write much better films than this (L.A. Confidential, A Knight’s Tale, Mystic River, Man on Fire, Green Zone).

Devon liked these reviews