A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
Rating -

Horror (US); 1989; Rated R; 86 Minutes

Erika Anderson: Greta
Valerie Armstrong: Mrs. Jordan
Michael Ashton: Gurney Orderly
Beatrice Boepple: Amanda
Matt Borlenghi: Jock
Noble Craig: Merging Freddy
Beth DePatie: Anne

Produced by Rupert Harvey,Sara Risher and Robert Shaye; Directed by Stephen Hopkins; Screenwritten by Leslie Bohem, John Skipp, Craig Spectorand David Spector

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Written by DAVID KEYES

Something is terribly wrong here.

Horror movies aren't supposed to be funny. They're supposed to be frightening, intense, creepy, realistic--whatever it attempts to inflict, that's supposed to be the internal result.

But the moment when a horror movie turns out to be funny without even trying, something has to be seriously wrong. With the case that is "A Nightmare On Elm Street: The Dream Child," I laughed my head off so hard that I could scarcely stop in attempt to write this review.

This is a first, even for a popular franchise like "A Nightmare On Elm Street." I presume this happened purely by accident, though--judging from the movie's cumulative story, you can tell the screenwriters tried desperately hard to deliver some shocks in this movie. In attempting to do so, however, they produced disorganized mixtures of story, characters, plot twists, and horror elements. The blended result emerges "The Dream Child" one of the most incompetent horror movies ever seen by human eyes.

And I gather you can call this a downright shame. The original "Elm Street" film was one of the most effective ever, while it's sequels had their qualities. In the fourth chapter, Hollywood proved that sequels can go too far, and now, part five destroys our faith. No longer are we subject to the fright and surreal tendencies brought on by Fred Krueger; now, we are appalled by his clumsy routines to the point where hysterical laughter breaks the silence. In between some of these clumsy sequences are story directions and characters just as bad as the rest of the movie. They are, in their own little ways, dead pieces of a film that should be burned along with every other copy of this movie.

The story sounds intriguing, but without proper development, it's completely useless. It's about (once again) Freddy's spiritual opposite, 'The Dream Master.' Only this time, she's pregnant, and she fears that Krueger might come looking for her again.

After a few mysterious deaths, wouldn't you know it? Freddy's back! And this time, he's haunting the 'Dream Master' outside of her dreams.

This is a situation beyond description, but later in the film, we learn how it is possible. Since she is, after all, pregnant, the child has dreams on its own, and thus, Krueger pulls the child's mother into his dreams while she is still in a conscious state.

There are other pieces and tidbits of information that fit in different places of the movie, but instead of following a linear, understandable routine, the script staggers these things throughout the movie. It's like a puzzle you have to put together, and at the end, pieces are missing.

And did I mention Krueger? The man is pathetic here; instead of being shrouded in the typical darkness and mocking laughter from the original film, he now has light relief and comical laughter. The light reveals his facial structure very graphically, but everything on his face is thrown together so ineptly by the makeup artists that he looks like his head got caught in a meat grinder.

Perhaps his brain went with it as well. Aside from the backdrop of his persona, this guy attempts to offer relief in the movie by shouting one-liners and stupid jokes that make Jim Carrey's acts look almost respectable. There was apparently an intention to add humor into Freddy's character, but it just doesn't work well. All the humor belongs to the clumsy steps and turns the whole movie takes.

No one could have saved this--not even Wes Craven, the creator of the first. Can you imagine what he thinks of this movie? Do you think he appreciates the fact that other directors stretch his franchise beyond the boundaries of film decency? If I were you, Wes, the next time you decide to make a horror movie, do the rest of the franchise yourself. Otherwise, these inexperienced twits will get a hold of your series and damage it as much as they can.

Just look at "The Dream Child" and you'll know what I mean.

1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org. Please e-mail the author here if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.
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