A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master ⭐️

Director: Renny Harlin. Cast: John BeckmanKisha BrackelBrooke Bundy, Robert Englund, Rodney Eastman, Ken Sagoes.

Amazingly at the time this was the highest-grossing entry in the series (in fact the highest grossing horror too!). Clearly taste in horror must have changed a lot since 1988, because watching it tonight in 2021, I found it absolutely abysmal. Boring, predictable, not as funny as it thinks it is and crucially not scary at all.

This was basically done just for the fan to cheer at the screen and to capitalise on Freddy as a new horror Icon of the 80s.I had seen it before but I only remembered some of the deaths, which are still the most “entertaining” parts of the film, some more inventive than others (the girl’s transformation into a cockroach is nicely done and gruesome enough and so is Freddy’s death at the end), but despite Renny Harlin’s direction with “Pop-video-like” visuals and a constantly moving camera to try to keep the pace up, I found myself almost nodding off waiting for Freddy to do his business.By now the way Freddy is portrayed is a complete betrayal to Wes Craven’s original intentions, but I guess Robert Englund didn’t care too much, as he was now the star of the film (he even got top billing). However having now lost any edge, I honestly found his camp Freddy quite flat and actually not outrageous enough.

As for the plot, nothing makes a lot sense and it’s basically just an excuse to knock off one by one the various bad actors along the way.Apparently the film was brought into production at the same time of the writer strike in Hollywood, which lead some of the actors to come up with their own lines of dialogue (though I struggle to imagine how some good dialogue could have made this any better).

I think your enjoyment of this film really depends what your expectations are. If you’re attached to the original (as I am) and the idea of scary Freddy, lurking in the dark, haunting your dreams, well this is the furthest you can be from it. If however you want to watch this with some friends, cheering at the various deaths seqeunces and drinking every time Freddy says one of his one-liners or looks as cool as a superhero (there’s a close up shot here where he’s on a beach and he puts on his sunglasses which is probably the further we can ever be from Wes Craven’s first film), then just go for it, but don’t try to convince me that it’s good stuff.

I can’t even get myself to give it two stars.

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