Tuesday, July 24, 2012

REVIEW: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)

I really hate this movie. I hate it so much, you could fill a book with all the reasons why. If you had watched every single movie on the face of the Earth except for this movie, and watching this was the only way you could save your mother from a pack of rabid wolverines, I’d say you’d better start trying to find some other alternative! This is seriously like the Batman and Robin of Freddy Krueger movies, or rather of 80s slashers in general. You think the remake was bad? Try The Dream Child on for size!

Director: Stephen Hopkins
Starring: Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox

I mean I just don’t know what the hell they were thinking with this. I’m not saying the other Nightmare movies were great or anything, but they were at least inventive and had some good kills here and there. This is like the series was given an enema by a blind, psychotic homeless man and then left to die on a roadside somewhere, surviving only on terrible jokes and even worse ideas for ‘serious’ moments.

If you like being entertained or even retaining your brain cells, this isn’t the movie for you. But if you like having your senses and intelligence insulted every second of a movie, well, then you’re in for a treat, as this thing is the equivalent to being kicked in the ballsack by a steel-toed boot while a toddler screams in your ears at the top of his lungs!

The movie begins with Alice, one of the characters from the previous film, taking a shower, because that’s all blonde girls do in slasher movies, take showers. The water turns steaming hot and instead of just opening the door and getting out of the shower, she instead stays there for several minutes trying to turn the water off. Prime example of natural selection here, people! Unfortunately this dumbass bimbo is our main character for the rest of this cinematic nuclear bomb.

Our heroine's first idea to escape was NOT the doors but instead putting herself further into the boiling hot water...truly one of the brightest young heroines ever.

Then she runs out to find she’s in the old mental hospital where Freddy Krueger’s mother was raped by the inmates all those years ago. She wakes up to some guy we don’t know yet asking if she’s OK, who then turns into one of the inmates and starts strangling her. Dream within a dream! Great twist, guys! She wakes up for real and it’s time to graduate from high school, even though I’m pretty sure the writers of this movie, mentally at least, never graduated from pre-school.

Also, I love the implications of this movie’s main cast. Alice, the lead, was previously in the last film, where she was a member of a different group of friends, all of whom got killed off. How do you think the process went for her to make new friends to surround herself with? How many people do you think were like “hmm, the last group of people to hang out with this chick all randomly died within a few days of each other? Maybe I should reconsider”? Might’ve been in your best interest, body count. Might’ve been in your best interest…

Seriously, kid, do you look at yourself in the mirror before you leave the house in the morning, and if so, how do you NOT cringe with shame and dismay?

So Alice, while on her way to work, gets sucked into another dream, this time watching Freddy born as a little demented claymation baby, who goes into a church and finds his Freddy costume and then turns into the real thing! His first line is “It’s a boy”…I really think this is a movie that would highly benefit from having a silent killer, who doesn’t talk at all. It’d be better than any dialogue these writers came up with.

The fact that they got Robert Englund to say half his lines in this amazes me. I am thinking he was blackmailed, or maybe he just had outstanding debts. Poor guy.

And aside from that, what, are these people just narcoleptic or something? Falling asleep on your way to work? Get some sleep, you moron! It only gets worse, too; like the movie thinks high school graduates are senile old drunks who can’t stay awake for longer than a second. But I guess that is true for some of them…

Stupidly, she calls her boyfriend to come pick her up and when he leaves, he gets killed by the Fredster, in one of the strangest displays I’ve seen outside of Megadeth’s debut album cover:

Attack of the horrible claymation zombie robots!

It’s a poorly done scene that drags on too long and isn’t funny or scary. But if I singled out this scene alone for that flaw, I’d be a pretty big hypocrite. Then we see another friend get fed to death and turn into a Garbage Pail Kid on steroids; truly this film knows what Freddy fans want – CGI better fitting of a Rankin Bass Christmas special.

Who looked at this and thought it needed to be put on film for the world to see? I honestly wanna know. There is no conceivable way this was the work of a sound, rational, non-perverted mind. It had to be the brain-mash of some pedophile, or maybe a sick fetishist who the world would just be better off without.

After that, resident comic geek Mark gets sucked into Freddy’s nightmare world somehow, it’s not really explained or fitting with how the other movies worked, and Alice “draws” herself in after him…as a red stick figure like something a three year old would draw. That’s supposed to make her go inside the dream? Does she have special powers now like in Dream Warriors? Movie, if you can’t have a coherent plot, just…no, don’t exist at all in that case, actually.

Inside the house she finds a little kid who she figures out is her unborn son…somehow. The next day, after saving Mark the comic geek from imminent doom, she goes and figures out that Freddy is haunting everyone through her unborn child, an idea so stupid that I feel less intelligent even writing it down here. If he’s in the dream world…why hasn’t Freddy just killed him yet and gotten it over with? We’ve seen in the other movies that he thrives when people are afraid of him – and clearly, by this point, Alice is afraid of him, and the others are getting there too. So why does he still need the bullshit with the kid? It’s just needlessly confusing and doesn’t make any sense with the typical storyline.

Were they even trying? I think I already know the answer to that one.

Then we see another problem with this movie, the fact that Alice constantly freaks out and tells everyone around her that Freddy is out to get her, with no proof, so she just looks insane. But then later she puts on a completely normal front and tells her dead boyfriend’s parents that she’s capable of raising the baby herself, COMPLETELY UNAWARE OF WHY THEY’D THINK OTHERWISE. Gee, it’s not like you rave and rant like you belong in a padded cell and constantly burst into hysterics and over-dramatic whispering about Freddy all the time, is it? Oh, wait. You do do that! That’s like me being surprised I can’t get a date while constantly not shaving, not bathing and speaking only in sexist jokes. It’s stupid writing and even dumbass slasher movies should try harder than this.

And seriously, seriously, they expect us to be invested in this plot in the first place? Take a step back, guys. This is a movie that tries to have serious talks about a character’s pregnancy...


...in between scenes like this:

That is shit! I mean what am I supposed to take away from this? Freddy haunts an unborn child in the womb…IT DOESN’T EVEN SOUND LIKE A REAL MOVIE PLOT! It sounds like a shit-ass-awful Saturday Night Live spoof! Whoever came up with this might as well have just written ‘WE DON’T CARE’ on a big white sign and hung it up behind the actors instead of the set pieces. It’s all but written out in bold at this point. Hell, they're practically revelling in how bad they're sucking right now!

Ugh, so where were we? What, so that kid who can’t stop drawing comics gets sucked into a comic book for his death scene? Color me surprised! Are you going to tell us that fish live in the water next? He gets shredded to ribbons and while I’ll give the movie a little bit of props for a mildly creative scene, it’s nowhere near what the series could do at its peak, and mostly comes off as jokey and inefficient. And I thought it sucked!

Then we get the big final confrontation where Alice and her unborn son and Freddy square off. Freddy gets attacked somehow by the maniacs who raped his mother in Alice’s dream – don't read too much into it; the lack of sense being made will just render you a drooling invalid in the corner, blood shooting out your eyes – and then his arm falls off and turns into a bunch of spiders for no reason. And witness the astoundingly good character of Alice, who has faced horrible, literally nightmareish ordeals, yet is STILL afraid of spiders:

Add that to the great stupid horror faces file...and SERIOUSLY, tell me you don't smack your forehead so hard, that your hand goes through your head at that! "Oh, I'm Alice, I can fight Freddy the nightmare super-powered demon of the underworld no problem, but SPIDERS?!? They're just so icky!" GAAAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHH!

Freddy gets his arm back anyway and now it hangs off him like a broken action figure, and he runs like a cartoon character with athlete's foot. So then you get stupid scenes like this, which would be shockingly bad if they weren’t just meeting the low, low standards the film has already set…

And you also get scenes like this, which aren’t so much stupid as totally idiotic AND incomprehensible, and these ARE shockingly bad because you didn’t even think THIS MOVIE could get so horrendous:

What am I looking at? There’s some half-assed plot about how Freddy was “living inside” Alice, but that’s never given any time to be explained, nor does it make any kind of sense in the first place. How? Why? Would explaining just go against your philosophy of not having anything that retains the audience’s faith in the art of cinema? I don’t get it.

So apparently, and I’m not kidding here, all they needed to do was reverse both Freddy and Alice’s son to infant babies, and then have them absorbed into their mothers’ bodies as little glowing energy balls! Wasn’t that the first thing you thought of as a solution to this movie’s plot? I can’t even count the number of times I’ve watched a film and thought “man, this could be fixed really easily if they just psychically turned one another into infants and then had their mothers absorb them into little energy balls in their wombs again”! It’s just a classical storytelling device.

Yet another of the great, classic images put forth by this film. I am just in utter awe...of how little dignity and scariness there is in this shit.

We then end on an image of our surviving cast sitting outside on a nice sunny day with Alice’s baby finally born, completely ignoring the deaths of all the poor saps whose only crime was to be friends with Alice. We also see the little Nightmare on Elm Street girls in the distance, watching and beginning their little song – what does it mean?! It means there is no God, because there are still more sequels after this one.

If cinema had an ass, this would be it. I can’t even tell you how awful this is, and how little sense it makes. It manages to take the simple formula for a Nightmare on Elm Street film and somehow make it absolutely unbearable. The bar is low and they still miss it; I really don't think this could get any more pathetic. There's no atmosphere to this, there are no scary scenes and the idea behind the premise is about as laughable as it gets. If you want to see the worst that this series can produce, go check it out, but if you want to keep your sanity and not spend the rest of the day wanting to punch a hole through something, stay FAAAAAAR away from The Dream Child!