The fourth installment in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise came out only a year after Dream Warriors, in 1988. The film is directed by Renny Harlin who seems to believe all you need for a quality Nightmare on Elm Street sequel is Robert Englund and good special effects….and nothing more.
Since the events of Dream Warriors, Kristen, Kincaid and Joey have been released from the psychiatric hospital and are going to high school as normal teenagers. Kristen has new friends and even a boyfriend while still being close to Kincaid and Joey (though the two complain about Kristen pulling them into her dreams). Kristen is worried Freddy Krueger might come back. He eventually does and ends up killing the last of the Dream Warriors. It is now up to Alice, Kristen’s best friend, to stop Freddy from killing more people. Alice is a daydreamer, therefore, she is what is called a Dream Master, and is the only one fit to fight Freddy.
The Dream Master marks the end of an era and the start of a new one (and this is not good news) : Freddy is now more comical than scary. Freddy always had humor, he is after all famous for his great one-liners, but this film takes it too far and turns our horror icon into a clown. When Freddy appears on a beach and puts on sunglasses, you have a feeling something is not right. Then, when a character is doing karate with an invisible Freddy, you know for sure that something is absolutely wrong !
The film is also poorly written. For instance, the reason we are given for Alice being the Dream Master is that she daydreams a lot…lazy much ? There are too many plotholes to list here, just know that this film has more holes than swiss cheese ! One of the biggest flaws is the characters. There is barely any character development except maybe Alice who is the only one with some sort of a story arc. The dialogue is very poorly written and the delivery by the entire cast is really bad and cringe-worthy. The worst casting choice is Tuesday Knight who replaces Patricia Arquette as Kristen.
However, this fourth entry in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise has some of the best special effects this far. I also thought the way Freddy is defeated this time is the best out of the first 3 sequels. No more power of love bullshit (I’m looking at you, Freddy’s Revenge) !