A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)

DVD Cover (New Line Studios)
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Overall Rating 56%
Overall Rating
Ranked #1,940
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Following up the previous Nightmare film, the dream demon Freddy Krueger is resurrected from his apparent demise, and rapidly tracks down and kills all three of the surviving Elm Street kids. However, Kristen Parker (who has the ability to draw others into her dreams) wills her special ability to her new best friend Alice Johnson before her demise. Afterwards, she soon realizes that Freddy is taking advantage of that unknown power she now wields to pull a new group of teenage children into his foul domain. Can Alice embrace her new power to finally defeat Freddy or is it already too late? --IMDb
Review by Chad
Added: January 11, 2007
The Nightmare on Elm Street series is full of both hits and misses: the original was a horror classic, the first sequel was a trainwreck, the next sequel was pretty damned good, and then we have The Dream Master. Now, I wouldn't go so far as to call this one a disaster, but it's certainly not the "horror classic" that the original was, nor is it "pretty damned good" like Dream Warriors was. It's a decent enough entry in the series, although it is quite forgettable and really does nothing to further the overall storyline (other than killing off the survivors from the previous movie).

The movie begins with said survivors - Kristen (played by Tuesday Knight this time around), Kincaid (Ken Sagoes), and Joey (Rodney Eastman) - who have moved out of the mental hospital and are now living normal teenage lives with school and such. Kristen begins having the nightmares again, and much like she did in the previous film, she pulls her buddies into her dream to fight alongside her... and they get pissed off at her over this, claiming that Freddy is dead and that she's ruining their pleasant dreams of naked women and premarital sex. However, Freddy (Robert Englund) actually isn't dead - after all, we wouldn't have much of a movie if he was - and it doesn't take long before he's killed off the final three Elm Street kids.

With that piece of business taken care of, it's time to scout out some more victims, and this brings us to Kristen's friend Alice (Lisa Wilcox) and her brother Rick (Andras Jones), as well as their jock friend Dan (Danny Hassel). Well, there's other people in this circle of friends as well, but none of them are really relevant in the grand scheme of things, so I've taken the liberty of omitting their names. These three have been brought into the picture thanks to Kristen having pulled Alice into her final dream, and to make things interesting, Kristen "transferred" her powers over to Alice by way of shooting what appeared to be a Street Fighter 2'esque fireball into her chest. Things just get more bizarre from there, but at least there's some interesting visuals along the way.

Indeed, the storyline found within this film is pretty lackluster, and in fact, I'll go out on a limb by saying that I'm pretty sure the people in charge of it couldn't come up with anything sensible and that they merely threw a bunch of shit together in order to show Freddy killing more teenagers. It starts out simple enough, but once the focus shifts over to the second batch of kids, it loses all sense of direction and the result is a story that really makes no sort of sense. We learn that Kristen is a psychic - well, the DVD case says so, but I sure didn't see that in the movie - and that she can absorb the powers of her friends once they've been killed off (although this is pretty much limited to Rick's karate prowess - yes, this movie reeks of the eighties). As I said above, things just get more and more bizarre as the movie progresses, and if you think that this sounds unusual, wait until you see how they "kill" Freddy this time around.

Yes, the storyline was fairly out there, and it makes me wonder why they scoffed at Wes Craven's original idea of traveling through time via dreams in order to go with this schlock, but what's done is done. You're probably thinking by now that I hated this movie, but surprisingly enough, I didn't. That's not to say that I loved it, but I felt that it was decent enough considering the sort of thing that most series are putting out by the time they hit movie number four. The kills are creative and original, and while the acting isn't anything stellar, it's good enough for the most part to make the viewer care for the characters in some small way. Robert Englund is particularly enjoyable as Freddy when he's not being goofy and cracking one-liners (yes, this is the movie where that really started to move past entertaining and into annoying), and he shows once again that there really isn't anybody else who could convincingly play this character as well as he does.

It's far from a perfect movie, and it's far from even being the best sequel in this series. The storyline is a mish-mash of ideas that never really comes together, and even though I knew it was coming, seeing Freddy finally break down into nothing more than a novelty act was pretty depressing. However, there are a couple of neat ideas to be found if you pick through the running time, and the various ways that Freddy dispatches these fresh-faced teens was pretty interesting (if not very horrific). 5/10.
Dametria #1: Dametria - added 04/24/2007, 12:43 PM
best of the series
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