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

Now Freddy's A Daddy, He's Killing For Two.
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A NIghtmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child - Now Freddy's A Daddy, He's Killing For Two.

I'm not even going to try and bullshit you: I love everything Freddy. EVERYTHING. Perhaps it's because he encompasses everything I am - evil & sadistic with a dark sense of humor. Or maybe it's because I like my villains with personality. I also grew up (I use that term loosely) on the Nightmare on Elm Street Series and I hold them close to my heart. So when it was suggested I tackle this movie for one of my first reviews, and for the continuation of Horror Extreme's look at the series, I thought there was no way in hell I could give this a fair review.

So I went back and watched it for the umpteenth time, trying to give an unbiased look at it. Really, I did try. And while I did find many things about this movie that I found wrong, shouldn't have been done, or just plain sucked, I still come away with things I DO like. Keep in mind, however, I'm completely unqualified to be a critic or reviewer of any kind. I have no training what so ever in this field (or writing in general), & most of the things I enjoy are lumped into the Beavis & Butthead school of thought (Read: I like stuff that doesn't suck). I don't try too hard to find underlying meanings or themes, and I enjoy things from the view of Jane Half Wit. Just fucking entertain me, that's all I ask.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child - Freddy is back to slash through a few Elm street teens once again. The meaning of horror is reborn when he invades the dreams of his nemesis' unborn child.

I really thought more could have been done with the themes in this film. Freddy invading the dreams of an unborn child has HUGE potential - the inability to stop being pulled into the dream world even when you're awake adds a terrifying twist, but other than the first Alice scene where she witnesses Freddy's "rebirth" & her ultrasound, its really doesn't affect the story line much.

And speaking of themes, this movie could have been a hotbed of abortion issues: a nun raped by 100 lunatics, and giving birth to a madman, a teenage pregnancy that threatens the life of not only the mother, but her friends? That really could have been explored, but obviously the filmmakers choose to take the safe route and completely ignored it all together. Had they remotely touched on the issue, I bet this film would have drummed up a lot more interest.

It's a shame, really. It's obvious more time were spent on special effects in this movie (which are quite good for the 80's) than on the story, which is pretty ho hum and essentially the same as the previous entries: Freddy kills teens, teens try to stop Freddy, Teen finally succeeds in "killing" Freddy. Nothing new to see here. It actually would be pretty easy to forgive if I could give a damn about the characters, but aside from Robert Enlgund's usual enthusiastic portray of Freddy, there is nothing about these people that makes you want to give a shit if they live or die. Alice is the most unenthusiastic heroine I've even seen. Even her panic is boring. And the character of Mark, the group goofball and the one you would THINK would have the MOST personality, had the acting skills of a rock.

Another shame is the continuation of turning of Freddy into a wise cracking side show instead of a dark antihero. Don't get me wrong, I love his puns and dark comments, but there IS such a thing as "too much of a good thing". He doesn't have to have a quip for EVERYthing. Does he REALLY have to yell "Let's Rock And Roll!!!" as he rolls Alice into the boiler room? Did we really need more puns like "Fuel Injection!!" during the motorcycle scene when the simple "Don't dream and Drive" would have been enough?

That being said, I think the kills in this movie were pretty well done. I think that's why I love this series so much - kills in the dreamword can be ANYTHING. They can be warped manipulations of a person's darkest fears, or you can bend it to your own will ala Dream Warrior style. It's so much more interesting than "Bad guy pops around the corner with a machete". The fact it's a dream world and doesn't have to submit to real world physics or logistics makes the entire concept an open ended play ground, and it's a shame they were saddled with a weak script and poor acting. The Motorcycle absorption of Dan was pretty damn cool, and still holds up pretty well today, and the Comic World of Mark was different as well. Where can I get a Super Freddy toy?

There's really not much more to say about this. So much more could have been done with this story, but it seems it was lost between the hurry to cash in on Freddy's popularity and trying to hide it's weaknesses under special effects. I consider this a "good time" horror movie - something you pop in when you have friends over, drinking and cheering on Freddy. But it certainly isn't the best in the series, not by a long shot. But hey - at least it's not as bad as part six.
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Categories: Slasher Movies
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