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

I get to review the fifth film in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. By now the 80s had been deprived of sleep by Freddy, scared to watch TV, scared to sleep on water beds if Amanda is anything to go by. Plenty of teens had fallen to the hands of, or claws of even, Freddy Krueger.

It has been a patchy ride though with the first and third films being remembered as classics and the second and fourth being so-so.

The fifth is the last of the 80s outings for everyone’s favourite Nightmare.

Anyone that followed my Rampo Kitan blogs know that I’m probably the last person that should have been reviewing a film that is best known for becoming “darker” or “heavier” with “gothic” direction.

More often that means its going to be overly arty at the expense of a decent story.

Not that I can really complain about stories in the Slasher genre, they are pretty simplistic things to do. 99% of them is hulking brute slashes to death a load of naked teens fresh off their last sex session whilst going after the most virtuous one of the lot. The other 1% is Freddy who just stalks a load of teens in their dreams and kills them in fantastical ways.

So what was the problem with The Dream Child?

It was boring? There is only so much you can do but with all these deaths being so close together in the same place, to the point that the film before this seemed to show every victim of Freddy being buried in close proximity to each other, without thinking why the hell is this still classified as being a delusion when its obvious SOMEONE would have noticed all these teenagers dying for no reason and one or two screaming and shouting about dying in their sleep. Yet all the adults seem completely unaware, even worse they seem to be completely unaware of the deaths that happened just the movie before it in the school that they were just leaving.

The whole story with Freddy’s mum and having to find her to help defeat him was just artistic crap. The new more gothic direction is just code word for turning the lights off permanently and bringing a teenage pregnancy into it.

Fair enough I will admit that the deaths were as usual as colourful and eccentric as ever but that is about the only good thing I can find to say about it.

I get that there was probably some kind of point to be made about teenagers and teenage pregnancies and all sorts but it all just fell to pieces. We got the story of the troubles any teenager finds themselves with in teeny dramas. Her boyfriend is now dead so his parents want the kid and threaten to take it away, something bad is going on so the best idea is abortion and so on and so forth just it felt like it was crammed into the story just for the sake of being controversial and having the pregnancy. It was like no one could possibly move away from that atypical reaction that the kid is crazy and the other parents don’t like her so the baby is in harm in some way.

Wrong kind of movie to be making these points.

The cast are terrible and they spend most of their time going round in circles with the ridiculous “Freddy is real” “No he isn’t” argument and by the time Alice figures out the message she was given at the BEGINNING of the film I had kind of switched off my brain.

The true contender in the film that went above and beyond style over substance.

What I found most funny was the kid was running around the place in dreams anyway. Fair enough every Freddy movie brings something new to the table and the whole “do babies dream?” thing and using that as a spring board was interesting. Having baby Jacob running about the place feeling sorry for his mum and befriending Freddy was just uninspired nonsense that probably was meant to make you think about the fact that all babies are humans yet to be born or maybe something to do with nature over nurture…. It was probably meant to do more then make me sit here and think “man that kid can’t act” or “I’m sure I’ve seen him play a bully in something before.”

A Nightmare on Elm Street has always been patchy in my opinion but The Dream Child was possibly its biggest low.

I say this but tomorrow Rick is reviewing The Final Nightmare. I think he might have a thing or two to say about the biggest low.

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