A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Worthless and Forgettable.

When you think “horror”, you typically think of the three most prominent film franchises in the genre: Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. That doesn’t mean the whole series is as good as the original. In fact, most of the time, these seemingly never-ending sequels are considered little more than money-grabbers. The only reason they are made, apart from money, is to have everyone’s most favorite and memorable villain return to the screen. Maybe the reason we automatically think of these films is because there are so many sequels, and not because of how good they are. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child is a prime example of what’s wrong with endless horror sequels.

Alice, otherwise known as the Dream Master, returns in this film. This time around, she’s preggers and Freddy’s coming to collect. You see, after he came back in the dream world, he found that he may be able to be “reborn”, if you will, into the real world by taking possession of Alice’s unborn child. She decides the only way to stop Freddy now is to somehow track down the spirit of Freddy’s long-lost dead mother. Only she can stop him…apparently.

Let’s talk about how Freddy comes back this time, since his comeback last time was due to dog pee, see my review of A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 for more on that. This time, we are sent into a dream in the form of a memory. It is Freddy’s mother giving birth to him. He is born looking burnt. Psycho-baby-Freddy skiddles out of the room, finds the church he was killed in the last movie, and digs himself up. Sound legit? Sadly, this was better than dog pee, but I find myself wanting to see the former instead. Whoever writes this stuff doesn’t understand anything…dog pee? Mutated demon baby? Why can’t you just have a satanic cult chant a spell to get him back like the rest of us?

Okay, so Alice is back and everything, but apparently has lost the title of “Dream Master”? It doesn’t technically say it in that many words, but that’s certainly how it appears. One of the best parts of the previous film was her development of abilities. Well, I guess those wear thin, because this time the film was focusing more on the Dream Child, which is, of course, the Dream Master’s child.

To be fair, I like the concept of the Dream Child. I like it because I love when movies come full circle; it’s kind of poetic in a sense. Was it necessary, not at all, in fact it shouldn’t have been done at all. All of those Elm Street kids are long dead now, so Freddy really shouldn’t be going after Alice…or anyone else at that matter…but he does. Ay, there lies the rub. Sure, Alice played a part in killing him in the last film…but he always returns, why take vengeance when you know there is always a way to return? For fun? Okay, but that still feels like its stretching it.

Next, if you remember correctly, I complained about the second film in regards to inanimate objects moving on their own…The same can be said for this film, when people are clearly wide awake…things not only move, but they move as if they were actually in a dream. So it comes back to the problem the second film had…losing the mission of the first. The only thing it has going for it is the Dream Child element. Even that wasn’t presented in the best light.

In the end, you just can’t call A Nightmare on Elm Street a horror series anymore…you can’t. I can almost literally see the writers sitting back and saying, “People don’t want scary, they just want Freddy – regardless of genre”. So that’s what they give you, and give Freddy enough puns to last a lifetime…yeah this series has lost its mission. They have completely forgotten that when he was originally introduced, it was done very simply…a scary villain is out to kill you as you sleep. That’s enough to give you nightmares. He was portrayed as a very dark villain, always in the shadows, slow-speaking and demonic. Now he’s all…laughing at his own puns. What is that?

It is pretty obvious at this point that The Dream Child is where the series dies. Sure, New Nightmare is better when that shows up, but obviously not done in the same story arc. So as the main arc, you shouldn’t probably go further than part four. Come back for New Nightmare, though. I’ll still review part six, but I’m kind of dreading it right about now.

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