Tuesday, October 6, 2015
A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) review
In almost every major horror franchise or series there's a singular film within that certain series that is neither really bad nor really good. For the Freddy films, A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master fits this description. The movie's performances and overall quality falls, but not too far, as Freddy's nightmares are more fun-to-watch than they've been thus far. The scare factor isn't totally lost, but it is barely there as compared to the previous films that were actually good.
PLOT: Taking place several years after the last movie, Kristen (Tuesday Knight), now released from the mental facility, has been having reoccurring nightmares where she finds herself in Freddy's house, but with no signs of life. Kristen still pulls her old friends, Kincaid (Ken Sagoes) and Joey (Rodney Eastman), who are also out of the institution, into her dreams. They begin the get annoyed with this and try to reassure her that Freddy's dead for good. However, Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) is resurrected and begins to appear in the Elm Street teens dreams. Freddy has grown more powerful than ever, killing the original Elm Street kids. However, before she passes, Kristen makes a friend from class named Alice (Lisa Wilcox), whom she pulls into her dream and gives her "dream powers" to after Freddy kills her. Now, when Alice dreams of Freddy, she pulls a classmate in by accident and gains the skill of whatever that person was good at when Freddy kills them. Alice alone is the only person who can stop Freddy from taking the lives of the innocent teens on Elm Street. The plot is very well thought out, but relatively flat. After the old Elm Street kids are killed (which is early on in the movie), not much changes. In fact, the plot is forgotten and rushed into a kind of way where there's a nightmare/kill every ten minutes. The movie is mainly made up of kills with a premise but nothing else. The plot is trashed for stylistic killing.
ACTING: The performances in the movie aren't the best but aren't the worst either. Englund, Sagoes, and Eastman come back to reprise their roles, which they do fine job of. In this addition, Freddy is seen more throughout the movie and more of his character is shown, displaying for the audience how clever and sadistic Krueger can be. Switching out Patrica Arquette for Tuesday Knight was an overall bad choice, for she didn't give off the same effect as Arquette in the role. However, she wasn't the worst person they could've chosen.The only newer performance that was worth any significance was Lisa Wilcox as Alice. She was definitely a good person to give the lead role to, as she didn't show it any dishonor or cruelty. None of the other performances are really good or worth remembering. The rest of the cast just played their roles and fairly flatly.
SCORE: The score in this addition is creepier and more prevalent, led by lesser-known Craig Safan, who went on to score more movies. This nightmare also, like its predecessor, had a few original songs. However, they weren't as good or memorable as those in Nightmare 3.
EFFECTS: The special effects are pretty well done overall in this Freddy movie. The effects aren't the very best, but they definitely are quite remarkable. A gruesome roach transformation, a soul-sucking kiss, and even a peek inside of Freddy's collection of souls make this movie feel like an underrated special effects marvel. Though reeking of B-movie madness, the effects do their job well.
OTHER CONTENT: A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master is neither a dramatic fall or triumphant rise from its predecessor. In fact, you could say this one was made strictly to entertain without completely sucking it up. This idea is evident in adding more scenes with Krueger and speeding up the kill frequency. The movie does feel like it was made in a hurry, but it doesn't deter it from being any less entertaining. The blood flows freely and the audience is left to laugh at or uncomfortably watch Freddy's many antics and stylish kills. This one was purely made for entertainment and giving the general audience what they want: more Fred and more violence.
A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master is truly an underrated B-movie as compared to the series; it's actually entertaining but nothing to take seriously in any way, form, or fashion. The performances and plot (or lack thereof) failed, but the entertaining antics of Krueger and his stylized torture is enough to numb a horror fan's mind and entertain the masses.