A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER (1988)

Directed By: Renny Harlin
Written By: Brian Helgeland & Scott Pierce 
Story By: William Kotzwinkle
Based On Characters Created By: Wes Craven
Cinematography: Steven Fierberg
Editor: Chuck Weiss, Jack Tucker & Michael N Knue

Cast: Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, Tuesday Knight, Brooke Theiss, Toy Newkirk, Duane Davis, Rodney Eastman, Danny Hassel, Ken Sagoes, Nicholas Mele

Freddy Krueger returns once again to terrorize the dreams of the remaining Dream Warriors, as well as those of a young woman who may be able to defeat him for good.


This sequel was inevitable and had eliminated its link to the past by eliminating the known Survivors of the previous films. This film tries to start anew, by in turn eliminating the survivors from the previous film, quickly.

Unfortunately, actress Patricia Arquette doesn’t reprise her role. So it is recast (one can see why she decided not to come back as she wouldn’t have been around too long or maybe it was rewritten when she decided not to return) 

The main character is around long enough to pass on the torch to the new lead or new final girl of the franchise. As soon as all those around her. Particularly those close to her soon find themselves being inventively dispatched. As she slowly learns to control and use her powers.

The films already lose their spontaneity as Freddy never seems to strike at random but instead always goes after only the main character’s inner circle. Which here is explained away as, since the power she has been passed allows her to bring others into her dreams. It sets up more victims for Freddy. Even though it seems like she only really does this twice.

Again this film is kind of a rebirth. We have another new director Renny Harlin directing this film and offers for the time a more stylish and cutting-edge film. That matches the times MTV editing.

The deaths stay inventive and over time it seems that is how you remember each film by the kills which could almost be themed. Here we have a death In which the character is trained in martial arts and fights Freddy using them only Freddy is invisible.

It’s a modern touch for the time period and even though a bit silly. Matches the theme of teenage dreams and how silly they can be as they feed off the unconscious mind of the participant. Onto what Freddy does is indulge and offer a physical and deadly punchline. As well as a pun to end it on 

While the film tries and certainly has energy. As this is only the second of the sequels where Freddy goes from being scarier. Into a more wisecracking villain. Where the whole point of the films is to give the audience the inventive violence they want. Satiate their bloodlust but be inventive with it. 

This film is unfortunately a step down from part 3. Though it does try and manages to have its own identity. As this film comes off a little more sarcastic and seems more special effects-laden. 

Grade: C+

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