A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989) – Stephen Hopkins

Stephen Hopkins slips into the director’s chair for the fifth installment of the Nightmare on Elm Street series. Despite having vanquished him in the previous film, Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) is back and Alice (Lisa Wilcox) doesn’t know how to stop because she doesn’t understand how he can be back.

The viewer puts it together quicker than the cast, not to mention that it’s right there in the title. Alice is pregnant and Freddy is finding his way back to Elm Street through the dreams of her unborn baby.

Once again Freddy is ready to terrorize and he may be able to do it in the real world. His plan is to take control of the baby and use it as a vessel to bring him back into the world. Alice and her friends are all that stand in his way.

Let the body count begin!

The sense of fun that is permeating the character of Krueger is very much on display in this feature. So it’s not about the scares anymore as it is about the quips, the gore and a little bit of Freddy’s backstory brought to the fore again.

The dream sequences are a lot of fun in this film. It’s interesting that the film follows characters that have just graduated and within hours of that coming of age tradition, metaphorically stepping into adulthood, they confront Freddy.

Alice is forced to confront her impending motherhood when she learns she’s pregnant and has to deal with that impact on her life. Her friends have to deal with pushy parents, jobs, phobias and now a confrontation with their own mortality, most of whom don’t survive it.

Once again the film has a short run time brushing the ninety minute mark, so we’re never really given any real character development or beats. The movie rockets along from one kill to the next, setting them up so that Freddy can knock them down – the motorbike sequence is a standout and the outfit, makeup and design of this looks exceedingly cool.

Englund has really embraced the role by this point and he’s perfectly on point with the quipy monster that Freddy has evolved into. Sure we may miss the scares of the original but the more times Freddy comes back, the more he has become an icon. People cheered his kills. The kids may not be bad, but viewers were quite happy to see them become cannon fodder for Freddy and his goals.

I want a scary Freddy, a two hour film, and some great visuals. Sadly, I know I want get that from the next film, but we’ll take a look at it anyway. Next time it’s Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.

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