Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child Movie Review

This was the first scary movie I saw in the movie theater. My older sister took me when I was eleven. This was not a very scary movie to me and never resonated as strongly as Nightmare 1 and Nightmare 3.

Click here for a list of all other films reviewed and considered for this October 2012 series of horror reviews.

“It’s a boy!” Freddy proudly proclaims after he is reborn from the womb of Amanda Krueger within one of Alice’s nightmares in A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child. Alice (Lisa Wilcox) is one of two survivors from the previous film, along with Dan, now her boyfriend. Oddly, Alice has begun having Freddy nightmares while she’s presumably awake. What she later discovers is that her unborn child inside her is capable of dreaming, providing Freddy his valuable invitation to kill again.

Robert Englund continues to juice up his role, limited though it may be, playing Freddy larger than life and firing quips off when he’s on screen. But nothing can save this one from being endlessly ridiculous. The silliness factor has been ticked up a few notches. That seems to be the calling card of just about every horror series by the time it gets to the fifth installment.

Alice has a new group of friends for the offering after Dan is killed in an extraordinary motorcycle race of death. The new blood is comprised of supermodel-to-be Greta (Erika Anderson), Yvonne (Kelly Jo Mintner), and comic book geek Mark (Joe Seely). I went to high school in America. This group of teenagers would never be friends in real life, but I guess they make a nice cross section of generic and recognizable types in place of real characters. This establishes one of the film’s major problems: there are no characters to really care about. Even Alice’s 7 year old son, whom she meets in dreams, lacks any personality. He is a blank slate onto which necessary lines of dialogue have been grafted.

Leslie Bohem wrote the screenplay and two other writers have story credits after their screenplay was allegedly re-written only days before shooting was to begin. You have to wonder how bad their movie was that it had to be changed last minute. Bohem was later responsible for the equally absurd Dante’s Peak and Daylight. Stephen Hopkins, the director, keeps things moving and shifts the tone in a darker direction than the last film with its focus on making your dreams a happy place. Nightmare 5 superficially tackles bigger themes with its two mothers: Amanda, the mother of Freddy; and Alice, the mother of Jacob, whom Freddy hopes to use as a vessel for rebirth in the flesh. The length mothers will go to protect their children or to see them condemned to hell where they belong is interesting subject matter that is never explored with any real depth in Bohem’s screenplay.

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