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‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child’

By Richard Harrington
Washington Post Staff Writer
August 12, 1989


Stephen Hopkins
Robert Englund;
Lisa Wilcox
Under 17 restricted

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Freddy and the Dreamers are back on Elm Street, and something tells me they're into nothing good. Unfortunately that's also true of director Stephen Hopkins, who never gets hold of "A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child" with anywhere near the ferocity old Pizza Face (Robert Englund) displays when he gets hold of disposable teenagers. As a result, "5" has none of the pizazz of "1" and "3" and is only marginally better than "2" and "4," the worst of the "Elms."

This time around, the plot is more confusing than ever, though Hopkins visualizes the Bedlam-born legend of Freddy Krueger and Sister Amanda before getting around to the usual nightmare/murders that fuel this series' box office killings. They're not particularly interesting, except for the demise of a punkish comic book illustrator. In two all-too-brief scenes here, Hopkins segues to animation styles without extending them far enough. One good touch: After the artist has transformed himself into an action hero, Super Freddy renders him into a cardboard cutout, and as he's slashed to pieces, the colors drain out of him.

On the downside: An attempt to bring M.C Escher's famous multi-planed stairwell print to life during the finale.

The connecting thread between "4" and "5" is Dream Master Alice (Lisa Wilcox), who seemed to have Freddy well in hand in the previous finale (though she's forgotten all her psy-fi karate). This time around she's pregnant by a soon-to-be-late boyfriend, and don't you just know Freddy figures out he can do his dirty deeds through the fetus's dream state. Actually this makes no sense at all, but that doesn't save Alice's high school clique. There's also a creepy 10-year-old boy (Whitby Hertford) who's part dream, part premonition and all plot facilitator.

As for Englund, he still looks as if he's been working at Domino's too long, and he still sounds as if he's stealing his material from Don Rickles (though the jokes are minimal this go-round). Those who wondered what Mr. Krueger looked like as a tiny terror may appreciate David Miller's Baby Freddy, but most of the dream sequences and special effects are as flat as the wave patterns on the filmmakers' brain scans.

"A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child" is rated R and contains the usual profanity, art-gore and subtle nudity.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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