A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5: THE DREAM CHILD
WRITERS: Screenplay by Leslie Bohem
Story by John Skipp & Craig Spector and Leslie Bohem
DIRECTOR: Stephen Hopkins
STARRING: Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger
Lisa Wilcox as Alice
Kelly Jo Minter as Yvonne
Danny Hassel as Dan
Erika Anderson as Greta
Joe Seely as Mark
QUICK CUT: A woman gets pregnant while still in high school, and struggles with what everyone wants to do with the baby, including the local janitor, who may or may not be the father.
Alice - Surviving the last movie did not do wonders for her mental state, but she's gotten better over time. But once Freddy starts haunting her dreams again, it's all downhill from there. She's smart, but doesn't do much more than run around and yell.
Dan - Alice's boyfriend, an aspiring football player, and a good guy who likes his truck.
Mark - A friend of Alice's, who is into comics, a little quiet, and struggling to come out of his shell.
Greta - The local hot girl, the local It girl, who everyone wants to be, or be with. Her mom is a control freak, and is trying to make her be the next big model.
Yvonne - Another friend of the group, a swimmer, and candy striper, and doesn't believe in this whole dream demon nonsense.
Freddy Krueger - The man himself, trying to come back to life, and still has quippy and corny as always.
THE GUTS: Welcome back, Triskelions, and it is Fredbruary once again! So it is time to kick things off as we always do, with a return to Elm Street, for Nightmare 5, The Dream Child! I have been pleasantly surprised that the three big franchises I've been looking at for the past four years have largely held up and while rarely achieving the greatness of their originals again, they've all been fairly enjoyable in their own rights, if not good to great! Can this trend continue to hold, or will the wheels come off the baby carriage? Let's find out!
The movie wastes no time getting to the nightmares as we see Alice from the last movie go to take a shower, and the drain starts burping up mustard. That would be your first warning sign.
She can't get the shower door open, it starts filling up with water, and she falls into Freddy's boiler room lair, or lair adjacent, as we later find out this is closer to the asylum where important events take place.
Alice is suddenly dressed like a nun/nurse with Amanda Krueger's nametag, as we see some orderlies counting off the madmen in the room. All of this alluding to Freddy's being the 'bastard son of a 100 maniacs' as was revealed last time.
Amandalice gets attacked, and wakes up from the nightmare, and Englund's cameo gets to be a little bit more, as he attacks her in her own bed.
This works on multiple levels. If you don't know Englund, it's just a continuation of the nightmares, as these movies love to do. If you DO know Englund, then you know this is an attack by Freddy himself, and this is all the more obvious upon repeat viewings, with where the plot goes.
We meet the rest of the canon fodder at graduation, and it's a whole new group of people. And spoilers, none of them believe in Krueger, so this ends up being frustrating. You would think she'd get a bit more benefit of the doubt after the last movie.
Alice heads home, and slips into another nightmare, maybe. She finds herself at an amazing looking Gothic Asylum, chasing behind Amanda Krueger.
She wanders around the halls, which we now recognise from her earlier nightmare, until she gets suddenly poofed to a gurney and rushed to an operating room, where she gets to watch Amanda Krueger giving birth.
Whomever designed Baby Freddy did an amazing job of capturing Robert Englund's face on this little gremlin-like demon child thing.
The little ankle biter runs off, and Alice follows to a church, which I thiiiink is the same, or similar enough and meant to be, where he died in the last movie. The sprogling finds Freddy's old clothes, and climbs over them, followed by a pretty good effects driven sequence as Freddy is reborn.
He does his creepy routine, and Amanda shows up to spoil all her son's fun, just like any good parent. Freddy runs off into the fog, and Amanda leaves Alice with a message that she needs to be set free, but fails to give any, y'know, details.
Alice wakes back up in the diner where she works, four hours late for her shift, and trying to explain that Fred's not so dead.
She calls Dan, who comes rushing over to the diner, but it's been a long day, so he starts dozing off with the Jell-o Neck Head Bob on the drive over.
Freddy shows up, and takes over driving, with a lot of great nods to other moments, albeit probably unintentional.
This nightmare is reminiscent of some stuff from the previous movie, although more developed. There's some fun gags with Freddy picking himself apart to become parts of the truck. Also a good callback to the first movie where it was implied he WAS the car at the end.
Dan gets in a car crash, and lands back at the pool. He runs out, steals a bike, and tries again to get to Alice. Freddy's not done with him yet though, and the bike starts to transform and wrap around Dan.
The motorcycle transformation nightmare is some amazing effects work, and super creepy. Stuff like that, with people becoming mechanical always gets me, if it's done even remotely well. And this is some of the best.
Alice has a sudden flash as he dies, to a giant hell portal behind her, and watches as Dan's soul is sucked down into it.
She rushes outside just in time to see Dan crash into a semi, and die in a fiery wreck. And to add salt to the wound, the driver of the 18 wheeler is dressed in a red sweater, with a Freddy hat, and face covered in blood. He's NOT Freddy, but I love making him look like an 'agent' of Krueger.
Alice wakes up in a hospital, where everyone tries to tell her Dan is dead, and she tries to tell everyone right back it was no accident, it was Freddy, and this is the most frustrating part of the movie. NO ONE believes her, and they get incredibly frustrated at her making up stories.
Oh, and this is where Alice finds out she's pregnant, but we all figured that out by now, right? I mean, the title alone...
While she rests up, Alice gets paid a visit by a kid named Jacob that no one else remembers, shouldn't be there, and spoiler, is the spirit of her kid.
The only upside of no one believing Alice is that she can do a believable infodump when none of her friends know the story of Freddy. And at least they'll support her to an extent.
Meanwhile, Greta heads home to a large dinner with her controlling stage mom of a parent, but she's a little preoccupied with the whole death of a friend thing.
Mommy Dearest is all about her daughter being the next great model, they fight over eating, and eating disorders. But have no fear, Chef Krueger shows up to stuff the girl's face and then stabs her to death
Back at Alice's she sees all the food in her fridge rot, and Greta appears trying to crawl out like she's Zuul, until Freddy takes her away.
Alice catches up with her surviving two friends, one of whom is a comic nerd and wanna be artist, so of course he gets sucked into his artwork.
She finds him in the Krueger house, being sucked into the same hellportal that got Dan, and pulls him out in the nick of time. He sees his hands got sliced up by the hellmouth, and passes out from the blood, waking up...yeah, that's reversed.
Alice gets distracted by Jacob who is waiting for his friend Drop Dead Fred to show up, and we find out Freddy is poisoning his mind with thoughts of how mommy doesn't want him.
She wakes up, and Mark suggests having the baby get checked out, if she's so worried. Alice has been troubled with how Freddy is getting to other people while she's awake, since that's how it worked before. But then it occurs to her, that her unborn child is dreaming, and that is Freddy's gateway.
The doctor checks things out, everything seems normal, and Alice probably says a bit too much. As the doctor becomes concerned, and worried that she might be mentally unstable, he starts taking notes and making calls.
And then she starts to become covered in static, and falls into her son's dreams, which is in his head, which is inside her, and how's THAT for Inception??
We also get to see souls of her dead friends being zooped down the umbilical cord to feed the child and yeah, this is messed up.
Mark is onboard with her mission, and I really appreciate that someone at least brought up the option of abortion. Alice is against it, sigh, but it was the elephant in the room.
Alice and Mark do research into Freddy and Amanda, and they finally get back on the track of, oh yeah, she said to free her. Let's get on that!
Alice takes a nap to try and find her in the dream asylum. Before she can succeed, Freddy distracts her from her quest by pulling Yvonne into the nightmares. Then she saw Fred's place, now she's a believer.
Meanwhile, Mark is chilling and waiting to wake up Alice, but he gets sucked back into his own little comics world. A world of black and white, so I guess he's an indie comics artist. And Freddy goes all out. The comic Mark gets sucked into isn't a regular sized comic, it's a full sized tabloid graphic novel. Those are SPECIAL.
Freddy does some lame taunting, until Mark turns into his musclebound gun toting comic character, and attacks. But silly rabbit, guns do not hurt the Freddy.
He pops back up, bigger, stronger, and capier than before, as Super Freddy. He slashes Mark, he becomes two dimensional, all his colour drains away, and the dude with scissors for hands makes quick work out of Paper Mark.
Alice goes to hunt more in the dreams, distracting Freddy, and sends Yvonne to the asylum for real, to try and find Amanda's body in the tower while Fred's not looking.
While she threatens Krueger in the dream world, Yvonne finds the bricked up door to the tower. Alice leads Freddy on a chase around the dream asylum, drawing him towards the room of his conception, a place he clearly fears. It's a nice moment to see Freddy actually afraid of something for a change.
She finds Freddy in an MC Escher inspired nightmare, with her son, and the three of them run around the physics defying hellscape for a bit.
The Escher stuff is good in concept, and should be good with the fluid dream reality they love, but somehow it doesn't work well here. I dunno why.
Alice gets Jacob and they have a moment to catch their breath, as Alice wonders where Freddy could be hiding. And straight out of the mouths of babes, Jacob explains that Fred is literally hiding inside her.
We see her face suddenly transformed into a familiar Kruegerian visage, and there is some more amazing effects work as she forces the evil out of herself. Mixed in with Freddy trying to intertwine even more.
Meanwhile, Yvonne finally breaks into the tower, sees Amanda standing around, and when she touches the nun's clothes, they fall to the ground like she was some kinda Jedi.
Amanda appears in the Mindscape, telling Jacob its up to him now, and the kid suddenly looks like Freddy, luring him away from his mom with promises that he is ready to be taught by Fred.
He horfs out a Freddy snake, which pierces Krueger, and the souls start to escape? I guess? The rules of this place have always been dodgy at best.
And let me tell you, Baby Jacob Krueger...sweet Jebus. The makeup is okay, but he's this little kid, trying to do a gravely Freddy voice and...no. I started laughing. Jacob Krueger is cheesy as all hell, but I love using Freddy's tricks against him, and he literally created his own downfall.
Oh, and I so wish after all this, Amanda had shown up and instead of empowering Jacob to do the thing, the movie was wrapped up simply by her shouting, FREDERICK BARTHOLOMEW KRUEGER! GO TO YOUR ROOM!
Ahem. Anywho, the souls drag out the baby Krueger from the adult form he was using. Amanda picks up her child, and Alice picks up a restored baby Jacob. There is SO SO much they could have done with duality in this movie, but they only scratched the surface. A missed opportunity.
Both of the baby spirits return to their respective mothers, and Amanda tells Alice to leave, as Freddy tries to escape from her body, with endless doors slamming shut and being destroyed. I love the visuals of an ongoing struggle between the two, and woe to the world should Amanda ever fail.
We cut to a time after the kid being born, and I do love that the baby keeps Alice up at night. Almost protecting her from her nightmares. And everyone rides off into the sunset with a baby carriage.
Video: It looks good, as is no surprise by a New Line movie.
Audio: There's some good atmospherics in the dream world, and they make good use of the mix.
Sound Bite: "Time to die, you scar-faced limpdick!"
Body Count: I am majorly disappointed in an Elm Street movie only having three deaths.
1 - 29 minutes in and Alice's boyfriend Dan dies in a car wreck.
2 - Greta chokes on everything thanks to Chef Krueger.
3 - Mark gets turned into paper, desaturated, and sliced up. This is my own worst nightmare.
Best Corpse: I so love the motorcycle merging.
Blood Type - C+: It was lacking in blood, but the creature effects were astounding, and easily a highlight of the movie.
Sex Appeal: Some naked Alice here and there.
Drink Up! Whenever you see Jacob.
Video Nasties: Harkening back to an earlier review, I once again share you you the rebirth of Freddy Krueger.
Movie Review: Well. Did this continue the greatness? Nah. In fact, this is one of the first major missteps in the franchises I've encountered. The movie isn't BAD, but it's rather...meh. We're here for the kills, and there's a whopping three of them. The movie is fairly bloodless. The characters don't really DO anything but react to Freddy's antics, until his mom swoops in to be a deus ex Amanda at the end. I want to roll my eyes at Jacob, but he ultimately isn't THAT bad, although he does get very silly at the end. Elm Street 5 is merely okay, and doesn't do a whole lot. Three out of five murdercycles.
Entertainment Value: There's barely even any Freddy in the movie to be silly and entertaining. He has a few quips, but never really feels like a constant threat or presence. There's zero struggling to stay awake and avoid him. It's all very basic. The best stuff in the movie, and IS genuinely good, is the effects work, I love what they do here, and that leads into the other good point, the dream imagery. That's always been a well done highlight of the franchise, although this outing doesn't get too weird, is fairly linear, but has some good bending of physics I appreciate. It's not good enough to be, y'know good, and not bad enough to be very entertaining for laughs. Three out of five baby Freddies.