Fans of the Nightmare on Elm Street series will generally admit that when it comes to Freddy, if you grew up with him you were probably frightened by the flame scarred monstrosity with the razor blade claws. In the first few installments of this franchise, Freddy Krueger was a legend of horror and scary considering his role as a supernatural monster and not yet another serial killer. However, near the fourth film (A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master) things began to shift and Freddy became more comical than his already snide self had been in the first place. Whether or not you approve of this all boils down to person preference, but this is something you may want to keep in mind if you have not seen parts 4 and 5.
Since this film was set in the last year of the 80s we of course have our heroine, Alice, who has recently engaged in promiscuous activities showering near the beginning of the film. The consequences of her romantic romp with recent boyfriend Dan end up being that she finds herself knocked up. One of the first signs of her pregnancy is a terrible nightmare about Amanda Krueger, a nun who experiences terrible things at the hands of asylum inmates in the asylum where she apparently had been sent. This is trigger that launches us into the nightmare that Wes Craven inspired. As things progress, we see a movie that has a much more brooding and dreamy ambience than the previous films. It’s also got plenty more black comedy and isn’t afraid to get even more ludicrous than standard Freddy fare.
While Robert Englund, the actor who portrays Krueger, has always been something of comic relief from time to time, in The Dream Child he’s definitely in fine form. Taunting, mocking and in several spots being outright goofy. Even if the goal of the movie was to give us a further look into the mysterious origins of Freddy himself, it ends up being more hijinks with bladed fingers and teenagers being offed whenever they fall asleep. That isn’t to say there’s not a serious level of creepiness here because there definitely is, particularly a labyrinth style scene that many fans report as being one of the better ones in the Elm Street movies.
You can always count on a Freddy movie to give you some serious entertainment when you want that unique brand of slasher horror this series so richly delivers, but with The Dream Child you do get a bit more story than some of the other films. A character like Krueger is always going to be valued for the mythos he brings to the table and in his case there’s plenty of convoluted fictional backdrop against which we can enjoy Freddy’s darkly comic escapades. Plus, in this movie you get to see Freddy as a baby – sort of. It’s a fun film that won’t disappoint you even if it might not be the strongest in the bunch.
Besides, if you can’t have fun watching Freddy prowl through teen dreams in search of ways to off them for being asleep then what else are you going to turn to?
Not a nap, one would hope.