Director: Stephen Hopkins
Writers: John Skipp, Craig Spector, Leslie Bohem
Starring: Lisa Wilcox, Robert Englund, Kelly Jo Minter, Erika Anderson, Danny Hassel, Beatrice Boepple, Whit Hertford
The Dream Child is the fifth instalment of the A Nightmare on Elm Street series. It follows the survivors of the fourth film, a year later. Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) is somehow back, and even the film isn’t convinced it makes sense. Alice (Lisa Wilcox) shouts to Freddy ‘You can’t come back! I locked the door on you!’ to which Freddy answers ‘But I found the Key!’, and that is pretty much how the film explains his return and then it just continues from there, dumb dialogue in the place of a cohesive story. You have to just turn your brain off while watching because it makes almost no sense. It breaks the rules set by the previous films and even if you ignore that it’s still a convoluted mess.
If you don’t focus on the plot (which to be honest is paper thin and basically re-treads Freddy’s origin story from Dream Warriors and then proceeds to Freddy killing Alice’s new group of friends after the lost lot were killed in the last film) then there’s actually a lot to really like about this film. There are some incredible effects, including a moment where someone is melded into a motorcycle piece by piece that’s looks like a scene out of Tetsuo, which co-incidentally came out a month before this film did. One of the most creative moments is when Mark (Joe Seely) is turned into a 2D comic book character and is slashed up by Freddy. The film looks great the whole way through and most of the effects stand the test of time.
The biggest crime the fifth film makes is how lazy the writing is with Freddy. It’s essentially him just running off one-liners that aren’t good, and repeating the word ‘bitch’ over and over, trying to recapture what came before. There really is barely any good Freddy moments in this one. Englund is still great, but at this point the series feels tired and there’s no original ideas. A large part of the film focuses on Freddy’s mother and his birth, which was explained in Dream Warriors, but this time we get to see it. Yay.
All the Elm Street films are horror classics, but the fifth one is genuinely forgettable. The series took a massive nosedive after the third film with the two starring Lisa Wilcox. It’s a real shame because Alice is a great character, but these two films are pure style of substance. They’re still entertaining but nothing compared to what came before.
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