• Mr. Pat

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

The 315th review!


It occurred to me the other night that I haven't reviewed a few of the Freddy movies in the 11 years I've been doing this. I used to rent the Nightmare on Elm Street movies all the time and it seemed wrong that I haven't revisited them all, although I go back and forth on whether I want to watch the remake. Anyways, for tonight, how about we discuss...


It occurred to me the other night that I haven't reviewed a few of the Freddy movies in the 11 years I've been doing this. I used to rent the Nightmare on Elm Street movies all the time and it seemed wrong that I haven't revisited them all, although I go back and forth on whether I want to watch the remake. Anyways, for tonight, how about we discuss...

A Nightmare on Elm 4: The Dream Master (1988)


My personal favorite in this series of movies is the third one; Dream Warriors. It was the perfect mix of scary and funny Freddy. It also had by far the best set of non-Freddy characters. They were all unique and they were more than cannon fodder, you actually liked and cheered for them.

Number four, not so much. One of the first things that happens in the movie is Freddy kills off the survivors from the previous movie. The three, Joey, Kincaid and Kristen (who had the power to pull people into dreams) are the last of the Elm Street kids. Instead of killing them all off right away, Freddy gets Kristen to pull someone else into her dream so he can have new friends to play with before throwing her into a lake of fire.

I didn't like that at all. The people in the third movie were great, Kincaid is probably my favorite human character that isn't Nancy Thompson in the entire series. He was just so cool, plus his super strength reminded me of me. They kill him and his two friends and we're left with a lot less interesting group of heroes. Literally, the first time you meet them you learn everything you need to know about them and how they're going to die.

It's also kind of a silly concept too; well, silly for a Freddy movie. Before Kristen dies, she pulls Alice in and then gives her her power. Instead of Freddy killing her, he allows her to live so she can involuntarily bring him more victims. That makes sense, but then when her friends die, Alice gets their powers and personalities too. So by the time the final showdown happens she has a Thanksgiving feast worth of powers in increased strength, intelligence, attitude and karate.

Speaking of silliness, this movie has the goofiest way of bringing Freddie back and then killing him. From what I've read the resurrection started as a joke but they couldn't figure out a better way so they literally had a dog peeing fire on him to bring him back. Plus, Freddy gets defeated by... seeing his reflection. I understand those are always two big questions when you do these movies; how do we bring him back and how do we kill him? But seriously, those two were the best answers you could come up with?


It's not a good movie by any stretch but it does have some marks in its favor. The fact they brought back the actual actors who played Kincaid and Joey was a nice touch. They had to recast Kristen when Patricia Arquette decided not to return but Kincaid and Joey were the original actors. Another notch in this movie's favor are the effects, they really are top notch. Debbie's roach motel death is an absolute highlight. While she's running from Freddy she becomes more and more bug-like until she runs into the sticky substance of a roach trap. It's so gross, it's so disturbing and it's so wonderful.

Speaking of that, to my surprise, the movie did something clever that unless you know, it would go completely over your head. At one point a teacher mentions Kafka, and later in the movie Debbie dies after turning into a bug like in, probably the most depressing short story ever, Kafka's "Metamorphosis." There's a lot of silliness in this movie and a bunch of callouts, like Kincaid's dog being named Jason by the name, but this particular one was a lot more obscure than its other ones and deserves a golf clap.

While I complained earlier about Freddy's downfall, I have to give credit where credit is due. It looks awesome. I loved the visuals and how it played out more than I disliked how it got there.

Interestingly enough, out of the entire series this is Robert Englund's favorite. It does some cool things like Freddy's motivation and his plan to get more victims, plus his dream within a dream and the time loop he sends Alice and Dan on is a really cool touch. Still, I think this movie misses a lot more than it hits. I didn't really care about the characters and the ones I did like got killed off too quick. Even if we take out those two big red flags, this movie still has a lot of issues. It drags at points, the characters are nothing special and you just wait for these people to fall asleep so you can see Freddy again.


5 Dr. Chainsaws!

 

A Nightmare on Elm 4: The Dream Master (1988)

HBO Max


The surviving teenage Dream Warriors are again plagued by Freddy, who is now invading the dreams of mousy teen Alice. However, Alice begins taking on the strongest characteristics of her friends and soon becomes the Dream Warrior.


Cast & Crew: Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, Rodney Eastman

Directors: Renny Harlin

Writer: Wes Craven

Rating Information: R

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