A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
Directed by: Stephen Hopkins
Premise: Freddy Krueger returns, this time attempting to rebirth himself through the unborn fetus gestating inside the surviving teen from the previous film.
What Works: The Dream Child is among the most ambitious of the Nightmare on Elm Street films with production design that is very impressive and an attempt in the screenplay to move its teenage characters into territory uncharted in the slasher film. In particular, the film takes place at graduation, transitioning everyone into adulthood, and gives its lead heroine an unplanned pregnancy. The characters are better drawn here than some other Nightmare films (save for Dream Warriors) and there are some nice scenes between Alice (Lisa Wilcox) and her recovering alcoholic father (Nicholas Mele).
What Doesn’t: The Dream Child does not correct the mistakes of the previous Nightmare film. Although it does not make Freddy an antihero the way The Dream Master did, it also never recovers the character’s status as a threatening villain. The murder sequences continue to indulge the fantastic and as a result they become less primal and less scary. Also, like Freddy’s Revenge, there is a practical problem: why would Freddy want to possess the baby and be reborn when he can exist in the world of dreams? The film never answers that question and the picture is left without a concrete conflict between the protagonist and the antagonist.
DVD extras: DVD-ROM features
Bottom Line: The Dream Child ranks in the middle of the Nightmare series. It is certainly not the worst film and it has some interesting visuals but it also makes some elemental mistakes.
Episode: #261 (October 25, 2009)