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


To entertain myself, I started making a note of every time Freddy Krueger, child murdering bastard son of a hundred maniacs, made a bad pun. Out of his total of about 40 lines in the entire movie, 24 of them were “jokes”. Now, I don’t mind a gag or two in my horror movies, unlike some other reviewers, but that is going slightly too far. If you add in the dialogue free segments where Freddy skateboards, and turns into a superhero, then…well, you’ve got this mess.


Lisa Wilcox is back as Alice, and it’s high school graduation time. She’s still with Dan from part 4, and he’s about to head off to college to become an American Football star; there’s a bunch of other people around too, who seem to replace the archetypes that Freddy offed previously. Unfortunately, she starts having dreams she can’t control, including the asylum where Amanda Krueger was trapped and raped by the inmates – wow, do I hope even the worst real asylum in history didn’t look that grim.


I was about to avoid spoilers, but damn! It’s too weak to deserve that treatment. It turns out Lisa is pregnant, and Freddy wants to take over the baby’s soul, or something, so he can continue killing more people. As “nightmares” start happening when the characters are wide awake, they figure out it’s the baby’s dreams that are causing everyone to die – a development that sounds even dumber than it was, when written down. The trick to finishing him off this time is to find the spot where Amanda Krueger committed suicide and…it’s really not clear, but it’s a subplot that takes up an appalling amount of time and is dull as ditchwater.


The setpieces, unlike the previous movies, are pretty embarrassing. With the aforementioned skateboarding and superhero stuff, there’s a scene set in an MC Escher painting, which is a bit wackier than I like my child endangerment and murder to be, as a rule. There’s a bit where one of the victims turns into a paper version of himself and gets sliced up. It’s so witless and boring, which is pretty unforgivable in a series like this.


Then we’ve got those scenes which indicate no-one bothered having a second run at the script. Lisa’s pregnancy is revealed to a room full of her friends and relatives, when I’m pretty sure that’s the sort of thing you’d tell a high school student on her own, for one. There’s the way that despite the town they live in, and its warzone-level teenager mortality rate, no-one believes Lisa, again. In fact, her best friend remains a committed Freddy skeptic until she’s attacked herself at around the 1:00 mark, and every single line out of her mouth is incredibly annoying. If you think your friend would make something like that up, why are you her friend?


I think the blame can be apportioned pretty equally throughout, with this one. We’ve got the producers, cutting out the gore to get it a more multiplex-friendly rating but leaving those death scenes as just confusing; we’ve got the writers, none of whom seemed to have much idea of what they were doing; we’ve got a cast full of people who don’t seem to be trying (Wilcox especially looks she’s doing this at gunpoint); and then we’ve got director Stephen Hopkins. He’s gone on to a career as a TV director / producer, but directed a surprising number of big budget genre pictures too, most of which sucked (“Lost In Space”, “Judgement Night”). Perhaps it’s that he was only given 4 weeks to do principal photography on this?


I’ll just say it was a perfect storm of badness, starting with the idea that Freddy should be both a wisecracking 90s pop culture juggernaut, and a child murdering psychopath; and ending with a few special effects looking for a movie to attach themselves too. Even positive reviews (most of which boil down to “I was young when I first saw this”) can’t seem to figure out what Freddy’s endgame is, and why he never bothered doing it before if he could.


And part 6 is going to be even worse!


Rating: thumbs down


One thought on “A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)

  1. Pingback: The ISCFC vs. Horror Franchises |

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