1 1/2 StarsFreddy Krueger has found a way to murder the teens of Elm St. while their awake, by invading the dreams of the unborn baby carried by the film’s female protagonist. This quickie follow-up to the creatively and commercially successful fourth installment is as bankrupt of original ideas as the last was rich in imagination. After years of pop-culture icon status Freddy (Robert Englund) is more a comedian than scary presence, long faded is any suspense or terror in this series, as we watch one unmemorable youngster slaughtered after another. The originality comes in the form of outlandish ways to murder teenagers, and The Dream Child doesn’t disappoint on that base level. It also gives us no one to root for, and a villain who makes a mere cameo in his own flick.
Alice Johnson (Lisa Wilcox), the Dream Master of Elm St. 4, is pregnant with her boyfriend’s child. Things are finally looking up in her world, dad is finally sober and tolerable, school is out for summer, and her relationship is stronger than ever. Though still mourning the death of her brother at Krueger’s hand, she is overjoyed to hear of the news that she’s expecting. The film’s best bit of dialogue comes when Lisa’s father says, “It’ll be nice to hear the sounds of a boy playing around here, again.” The script credited to the late Leslie Bohem could have used more moments like that and fewer silly scenes involving the abortion issue, and adoption options. Both of these societal issues are clearly out-of-place in a slasher flick.
Things are ideal until Lisa’s friends start getting killed off, soon she is telling anyone who’ll listen that Freddy is back. As per the norm for the series, the adults are baboons who think the kids are crazed, regardless of the fact that literally dozens of teens have been murdered in the same fashion, in the same neighborhood, over the past 5 years. Utilizing the dreaming child in her womb to enter the dreams of her allies, Freddy is able to dispense of them in comically gruesome manner. The series low-point has to be Krueger slashing the pages of a comic-book to kill the artist.
The Dream Child has been helmed by Stephen Hopkins in his debut feature. I admire some of his films, but The Dream Child is not his among his successful efforts. The set-designs are compelling, especially the M.S. Escher inspired finale, and the 1950s diner, but the movie is a shadow of its well-regarded predecessor.
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Stars: Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, Kelly Jo Minter