Has Freddy Krueger finally met his match? The answer lies in this fourth installment and the second of the “Dream” arc of the franchise.
After defeating Freddy Krueger, Kristen, Joey, and Kincaid have adjusted to normal life. Kristen even has a new boyfriend, Rick and is best friends with his sister Alice, who is extremely shy. However, fearing Freddy may return, Kristen begins to have some nightmares again and pulls Joey and Kincaid in. One night, Kincaid has a nightmare in the abandoned junkyard where Freddy was buried. Kincaid’s dog unleashes Freddy, who has come back to life and has gotten revenge so far on Kincaid and Joey.
When Kristen learns the truth about the duo, Alice advises her of a poem she remembers as a kid. When Kristen does dream of somewhere nice, Freddy haunts her, and she pulls Alice in the dream. When Kristen dies, Alice is given her power to pull people in. Alice soon discovers that with each death of people she accidentally pulls in, she inherits the victim’s greatest skill. She soon realizes that she may be the only one able to stop Freddy.
The success of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors leads to what would be more than just the fourth installment but the second of the “dream” arc with three returning characters from the previous installment leading the way. Kristen, Joey, and Kincaid are back but they only will become a bridge to a new crop of fresh victims and the most unexpected new heroine in Alice Johnson, played by Lisa Wilcox. A key element of the film is the transitioning of Alice from shy wallflower to kick butt heroine, evoking an emotional rage with each passing of those close to her.
Tuesday Knight replaces Patricia Arquette as Kristen and actually pulls it off quite well. Sometimes when it comes to replacing an actor for a specific character, it may not always work well, but Knight does it well. Rodney Eastman and Ken Sagoes reprise their roles and do quite well and once Freddy Krueger returns, it becomes the catalyst for the insane events and the film has some of the best deaths in the franchise.
While Kevin Yagher once again designed Freddy’s makeup, an amazing team handles the special effects, including the iconic “Screaming Mad” George, who turns one hapless victim into a cockroach. This is the level of special effects the Japanese-born effects artist would bring four years later with the live-action adaptation of The Guyver manga and anime alongside Steve Wang. One death suffering from asthma gets their face sucked in while there’s also a taste of martial arts with one victim using their skills against Freddy before they get theirs. This all leads to an epic showdown between the more empowered Alice against Freddy.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master is this reviewer’s favorite of the franchise. It has the transitioning of a new empowered “final girl”, amazing SFX, and of course, Robert Englund once again chewing up the screens as Freddy.
WFG RATING: A
A New Line Cinema production in association with Heron Communications and Smart Egg Pictures. Director: Renny Harlin. Producers: Robert Shaye and Rachel Talalay. Writers: Brian Helgeland, William Kotzwinkle, Jim Wheat, and Ken Wheat; based on characters created by Wes Craven. Cinematography: Steven Fierberg. Editing: Michael N. Knue and Chuck Weiss.
Cast: Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, Andras Jones, Tuesday Knight, Rodney Eastman, Ken Sagoes, Brooke Theiss, Toy Newkirk, Danny Hassel, Brooke Bundy, Nicholas Mele.