Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, A - 1.5/5

At this point, I kind of wished Freddy had finally been put to rest. Even as a lover of franchises its hard for me to justify this sequel. In fact, its kind of hard for the film makers to justify this one except for the dollar signs dancing in their heads. They didn't even come up with legitimate story to make this one work. They simply rely on fans of the films and some solid special effects to get by. Which doesn't lead to a good film by the ways.

Kristen, Kincaid, and Joey survived the the horror of Freddy thanks to Nancy's martyr like faith in them and a little help from burying Freddy's remains in consecrated ground. But that's about to end because Freddy is back (....sigh...AGAIN) to finish off the last three children of Elm Street. But Kristen's new friend Alice, poses a new threat and possibility for Freddy. For Kristen has given her the power to pull people into her dreams, and she is already able to control her dreams with her belief that she is, in fact, the dream master. Now Freddy can use her to pull in new victims for him to feed on. But this new tool could also be his demise. DA DA DUM!

So the story actually sounds relatively promising, but it suffers from one fatal flaw. It doesn't make any FUCKING SENSE. The connections to the 3rd film are flimsy at best (just cause you got 2 of the 3 actors to come back doesn't count especially when you kill them off so quickly to focus on your new plot with the dream master Alice) and the characters are about as worthy of your emotional investment as is some of the set props. The logical progression of the film wanes more often than not as we try to follow our heroine progress in odd ways to becoming a stronger and more controlled dream master. I'm sorry, but its just really hard to buy most of this shit any more. And "The Dream Master" does nothing to ground its concepts in any solid form. Its the first of the "Nightmare" films to lose most of its intelligence and move straight down into slasher territory, something that Wes Craven had tried very hard to avoid. Hell even the end makes LESS sense than the rest. I'm still not sure how Alice really "killed" Freddy and its obvious they didn't want to invest too much effort to make it seem legit since it would take that much more effort to debunk it for the next film.

Of course, the film is carried somewhat by its use of nice visual effects and stellar special effects. Renny Harlan can't direct actors for shit but occasionally he is able to nail some of the visuals. Too bad most of the nightmares focus on cool visuals rather than anything that remotely sparks fear or any kind of suspense. In fact, some of it just smacks of cheese and stupidity that is guaranteed to bring a laugh out of most viewers. The stupid 'soul pizza' or the dog urinating fire onto Freddy's grave just make you want to turn off the film right then and there. And the lack of anyone's acknowledgment of the things that happen in the 'real' world (like exploding windows in the school) just make this even worse. The special effects might be well done, but they don't make any sense either.

With intensely poor dialogue that's poorly delivered over a less than intelligent script, its no wonder that this is the beginning of the decline of the "Nightmare" films. Freddy has been downgraded to a one line machine that rarely strikes fear into his victims (as opposed to the fear of what ridiculous shit he is going to say next) despite another fairly solid performance from Englund. "The Dream Master" sits as perhaps one of the worst sequels for the series. Honestly, after the credits rolled it was like waking from one of my worst nightmares.

BONUS RANT: Going with the thread that nothing in this film actually makes sense, how the hell is Freddy brought back from the grave? If the dog dug him out and pissed on his grave does that counteract the holy water? Then if thats true it must be brought up that this was already done in a dream that Freddy brought Kincaid and his dog to. Thusly, his bones in the REAL world weren't uncovered. Thusly, it will come to the conclusion that nothing actually brought Freddy back. Since what killed him in the film before was burying his bones in the REAL world and since nothing was done to counteract this action, there should be no Freddy. It's like the film wanted you to think that they actually did something to bring him back when in fact, no one was clever enough to actually think of something that would make sense. So they just tiptoed around the subject instead. Dammit, I hate this movie for not even TRYING to make sense. They couldn't even come up with a basis to make it work! 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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