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

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

Directed by: Renny Harlin

Premise: Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) returns from the dead to dispatch the survivors of the previous film and prey upon the new teenagers of Springwood.

What Works: The Dream Master has some of the most imaginative sequences in the Nightmare series. The picture was directed by Renny Harlin, who went on to direct Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger, and Deep Blue Sea and The Dream Master has an action-adventure approach to it with lots of stunts and relatively bloodless fight scenes. The defeat of Freddy Krueger in this film is among the best finales in the series.

What Doesn’t: By the fourth film, the Nightmare on Elm Street series begins to show signs of wear and tear. The Dream Master is marred by an over reliance on Freddy Krueger to carry the film to the point of moving him out of the role of villain and into the role of antihero, which is troubling both to this film and to the series. Where Freddy had always been lurking in the shadows, in The Dream Master he has the spotlight thrust upon him, which demystifies the character and lessens his impact. The Dream Master’s teenage characters are not very interesting and the film especially suffers from replacing actress Patricia Arquette with Tuesday Knight as the chief survivor of Dream Warriors

DVD extras: DVD-ROM content.

Bottom Line: The Dream Master is among the lesser of the Nightmare films. Although it has some notable sequences, it isn’t much of a horror film and the thin characters and weak acting drag it down.

Episode: #261 (October 25, 2009)