Movie Name: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
Studio: New Line Cinema
Release Date(s): August 19, 1988
MPAA Rating: R
Kristen (Tuesday Knight) is suffering from dreams of Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) again. Now she and the surviving members of the Dream Warriors Joey (Rodney Eastman) and Kincaid (Ken Sageoes) are being hunted. When Kristen passes on her power to Alice (Lisa Wilcox), Freddy has a new group of Elm Street children to hunt. Can Alice master the powers she’s been given to defeat Freddy once and for all before everyone she knows is killed?
Directed by Renny Harlin, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master came after the success of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and felt like a true sequel. The movie was met with relatively positive reviews and has often been listed by Robert Englund as his favorite film as Freddy.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 is ok, but it isn’t the fun of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3. It is too bad that even for a relatively short appearance that Patricia Arquette couldn’t come back to at least be killed (or even re-write it to kill her quicker). With the death of the Dream Warriors at the beginning it kind of negates the whole point of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3…something I always hate (and was best illustrated by Alien3 that completely destroyed the ending of Aliens).
By now the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise has realized that Freddy needs to be funny and the deaths need to be creative. Dream Warriors is where the movies started to get completely insane. Each movie just seems to want to top each other, and the deaths are quite insane (like the suck face and cockroach death).
The acting (besides Freddy) kind of is downhill at this point. I don’t claim that any of the acting has ever been stellar in the franchise, but the kids being collected for these films are very generic and very forgettable. Lisa Wilcox is fine as “the Dream Master”, but she still doesn’t have the energy of Heather Langenkamp.
Freddy obviously is the real star of the films, and Robert Englund just seems to relish his badness and the insane deaths. The fun of the nightmare movies isn’t really the horror, but that the villain has such fun doing the horror. It is able to be pulled off without being overly (or at least realistically) gory or exploitative of women who are Freddy’s frequent victims. They are often made stronger and get the best of him. I do love his death in this one where he’s grossly pulled apart by his victims.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master is a worthy entry in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, but begins to show a decline or leveling off that is continued by other sequels. Lisa Wilcox’s character returns in the sequel A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991)
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)