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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Master (1988)

The kids from the looney bin that survived Freddy in Nightmare 3 are back in school and have a legion of new friends ready for Freddy's slash fest.  That's about as exciting as this one gets.  Once again, the franchise suffers from Wes Craven's absence.  The screenplay is weak and the direction and cinematography are lacking as well.  Heather Langenkamp is MIA which is always a bad thing.  All this smells like New Line trying to make a fast buck with as little investment in the franchise as possible.  They succeed admirably.

In Nightmare 4, Patricia Arquette, who played our hero Kristen in the last film, has been replaced by Tuesday Knight.  [Seriously?  Sounds like a porn star name to me.]  Her stage name alone gives you a hint what you're in store for: a lackluster performance that doesn't even come close to Arquette.  Two of the other surviving teens are played by the same actors but both are dispatched of early on in the film.  What is left are caricatures of teen archetypes who are bitched at by completely clueless parents and teachers.  

Robert Englud is back, of course, as Freddy but they even give him less to do in 4 than he did in 3.  I hate this because I'm a big Englund fan.  He's capable of so much more than the pablum they give him in Nightmare 4.  In this flick he's reduced to a series of clever retorts that really aren't that clever.

To add insult to injury, the soundtrack suffers with lots of marginal 80's tunes and bland, atmospheric synths.  Further the special effects don't light a candle to earlier films.  It all feels like it's been done before and done better.  And that's the truth!

Not until Craven completely took over the reigns of the franchise with New Nightmare [Nightmare 6 if you're counting] did Freddy rise again to greatness.  This one is adequate at best and I feel sorry for the actors who are trapped in this marginal film.

RATING: Fair.

For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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