Sunday, October 20, 2019

Movie Review: "A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master" (1988)

Director: Renny Harlin
Year: 1988
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Freddy Kruger reemerges once again to finish off the last of the Elm Street kids. He also hopes to use Kristen's ability to pull people into her dreams so he can find new victims.

Lisa Wilcox and Tuesday Knight in a movie still for "A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master" (1988)
"I hate dreaming." (Image Source)
Freddy may be defeated at the end of each movie, but the nightmare never really ends. "A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master" is directed by Renny Harlin, who would go on to make features like "Die Hard 2," "Cliffhanger," and "Deep Blue Sea." The screenplay is written by Brian Helgeland, as well as Jim and Ken Wheat. A year has passed since Kristen (Tuesday Knight) and the other kids at the mental hospital faced off with and defeated Freddy Kruger (Robert Englund). Now, it seems like Freddy has reemerged to finish off the last of the Elm Street kids. He also hopes to use Kristen's power to pull people into her dreams against her by forcing her to bring in a new batch of kids for him to kill, including Alice (Lisa Wilcox), who is seen as an oddball in the real world, though she has a unique ability to manipulate her own dreams.
Robert Englund plays Freddy Kruger for the fourth time in a movie scene at a restaurant in Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Master
"Did it ever occur to you if you keep going in, you might stir him up again?" (Image Source)
After a slight rebound with "Dream Warriors," the last "Nightmare on Elm Street" installment, "The Dream Master" begins another slow decline for the series. Let's talk about the bad first. Everyone's acting is awful, except for Robert Englund. The performances are effortful at best. At least "Dream Warriors" had Patricia Arquette, who was clearly very talented even when she was younger. Patricia couldn't be bothered to take time out of her busy schedule to be in movie number four (ok, that's harsh, she was pregnant at the time), so this time, the character of Kristen is played pop singer Tuesday Knight, who struggles to convey any human emotion convincingly. Lisa Wilcox is even worse as the new protagonist Alice. She delivers her lines in the most unemphatic, monotonic voice we've ever heard. "Dream Master" is as hard as it is to get through because of these rubbish performances. Beyond the atrocious acting, the story isn't all that interesting and doesn't make much sense. In fact, it's one of the weaker stories in the series. Now, for the (one and only) good: Freddy. What concerns filmmakers the most from this point on in the "Elm Street" series is finding fresh, fantastical, original, disgusting ways for Freddy to murder his victims. Whether he's drowning them in their own waterbeds, literally sucking the life out of them, or turning people into giant cockroaches, the gruesome kills and the awesome visuals are sure to please most horror fans.
The Dream Master 1988 movie still where human faces come to life in the slices of pepperoni on a pizza
"It's his fucking banquet, and I'm the main course." (Image Source)
"A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master" has many flaws, and it's got a lot wrong with it, but there's just enough good for us to say we had a decent time watching it. Maybe mute the parts with Lisa Wilcox and Tuesday Knight when you watch.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.7/10
RT Rating: 55%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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