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

Alice (Lisa Wilcox) is now pregnant with a son. She soon finds out that Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) is stalking the dreams of her unborn son hoping to be born in the real world.

Director: Stephen Hopkins

Cast: Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, Kelly Jo Minter, Danny Hassel, Erika Anderson

MPAA Rating: R for strong horror violence and gore, scenes of disturbing images and terror, sexual content including brief nudity and for language.

Fun Fact: Stephen King and Frank Miller were both offered to write and direct this film. They both turned it down.

After the success of The Dream Master, New Line Cinema went ahead and green lit a sequel. This one is a direct sequel to the previous installment and it continues the story of Alice, which is nice. It looks like the studio wanted it out as soon as possible because director Stephen Hopkins had only two months to complete everything. The poster to the film was released before any story could be established.

The Dream Child is a mess in different ways. It’s starts off strong with the beginning scenes in the abandoned asylum with the Amanda Krueger character. We get more of her back story since we had last seen her in Dream Warriors, and she wasn’t mentioned in the previous installment. There is an awesome scene that has Freddy and Amanda about to square off and it got me excited. I thought to myself that we were going back to the roots and being dark and scary again. That’s where the good ends and the mess begins. If they stayed with that and having some sort of story where the characters needed to find the two souls and merge them together we might have something here. While the story we have isn’t terrible, it’s just rushed. I don’t put any blame on Stephen Hopkins for a rushed story because what can you do with only two months of production work. You will have to give blame to New Line Cinema due to the fact this film is just a cash grab.

Lisa Wilcox comes back and she is just as good or even better then she was in part four. I’m glad she came back for this film because we get to know her more and she is a true adversary for Freddy. She will do anything to protect her unborn son and she knows she might even die trying. This is the official start of “Goofy Freddy” and it really brings the film down. Every time he’s on screen there is nothing but horrible one liners and no killer edge. He’s almost the opposite of the vision Wes Craven had when creating the character. Robert Englund looks like he’s having a good time with the role and I must give him credit for that but, he’s not menacing and who would fear him? The side characters really didn’t have much going for them except for Amanda and they were mostly forgettable. My least favorite character of the whole film was Mark the comic book artist, played by Joe Seely. The performance just wasn’t there and he was more annoying than interesting.

Visually this film is interesting and it looks very Tim Burton like. If Burton were to direct this, this is what I could see him doing. I wonder if the studio offered him the job and he turned it down to direct Batman. It’s interesting to note that only two stages were available for the production team and actors to work on. While we have interesting visuals, there are also some creative death scenes like the other films. Dan’s death is one of the more creative one’s in the whole series. It’s very creative and it looks good on screen. I felt like the comic book one went a little two long but, it’s at least creative and something like it hadn’t really been seen before. The final sequence is a little over the top and of course I won’t spoil it if you want to see it. The major problem with these scenes are the fact that it’s brought down by horrible one liners from Freddy. There’s no suspense to them and are more laughable then scary.

Overall, while not horrible and not great, The Dream Child is a rushed entry to the franchise. The franchise was losing steam at this point and this one shows. I can’t put blame on anyone on but the studio. The film came out exactly a year from the previous installment and all the studio cared about was the name selling the product. Its greatest strength is the performance of Lisa Wilcox and some of the visuals are unique. That doesn’t help the fact that the film is rushed and a mess in different areas. If you like a scarier Freddy then I would avoid this one. If you like him being goofier then this one is for you.

Verdict: Middle Ground

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