Written by Josh Brewer, April 21, 2017, at 2:30 p.m. Tweet to: @theJWBrewer
Title: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
Freddy tries to use the dreams of Alice’s unborn child to kill her friends. The ANOES series gets confused about its tone, which you’d think it would have figured out by now.
Yeah, New Line started to phone it in. With dollar signs blocking their view, this puppy got rushed into production and premiered LESS than a year after The Dream Master. And it feels like it; The Dream Child leaves any coherent story telling on the cutting room floor.
Here, the franchise standouts are the only protection between a confused, convoluted narrative and the viewer. Englund and Wilcox return to provide an occasional highlight while the SFX remain the series selling point. Of course, they serve mostly as an attempted distraction. The story remains vacant and confused, not certain if it’s trying to emulate the comedy of The Dream Master or the grim tone of the original; the only attempts to prop up the visual set pieces fall to a poorly punning Freddy or a few overwrought scenes that Wilcox desperately tries to hold together. Alas, there’s little to no tension as the script takes every opportunity to kill it and the rock sound track tries its darnedest to drown it out.
All of that would be alright if The Dream Child knew what it wanted to be. There is a throw back feeling throughout the tone of the flick, something that reaches back to the original. While I’m all for this, the inclusion of the punning Freddy and crazy effects undermine this effort. The result are a slew of hot button topics- abortion, parenting, child abuse- that are touched upon and then almost immediately dropped. This is the point where the franchise desperately needed Craven. Alas, New Line spent its time burning bridges and trying to rake in cash. The result isn’t exactly a mess, but it sure ain’t that much fun.
The real surprise of the Nightmare series falls to Englund’s ability to keep Krueger malevolently interesting. Too bad that the interpretation of the character within the film seems at odds with the rest of the tone, though I’m not blaming Englund for that. Wilcox hangs around for a second round, which provides her character ample time to develop. She’s easily the strongest of the cast and really holds some awful scenes together. Minter, Anderson, and Seely do what they can while Hassel stumbles through his part again. We dropped Patricia Arquette but kept this guy?
Hopkins gives us both Craven light and Harlin light. Niether is particularly interesting, and together they don’t work. He does a few fun things with effects and shot composition, but doesn’t really manage to make a coherent tone or film.
The Dream Child has no clue what it wants to be. The tone is all over the place while the new characters are, in some cases, literally paper thin. Why open the box of so many interesting possibilities and slam it shut so quickly? This flick is full of what-if ideas, but the plot and effect are lacking. The actors do what they can to help, but this puppy reads too far gone. Ho-Hum.
The Dream Child rocks a slew of quality effects that manage to be both brutal and creative. I wish they weren’t being used as a replacement for legitimate scares, but you can’t win them all.
There’s a Freddy baby!
Why is Alice’s kid eight in his dreams? Where did the camera come from? Who thought this plot was a good idea? All legitimate unanswered questions.
A watered down ANOES entry that plays more like a teen pregnancy episode, The Dream Child doesn’t know what it wants to be and falters from the moment after its opening scene.