Better but not great.
Much like my feelings for the fourth film (A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master) in the series, A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, continues to grow as a horror sequel but it’s still not as enjoyable as the third (A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors). It seems like the bar has been raised far too high since then because nothing I’ve seen so far can compete with it.
What I liked most about the fifth film is the new and interesting concepts that add on to what we saw in the fourth. By this, I mean the ideas with (also spoiler), our lead character Alice who returns from The Dream Master, and becomes pregnant with Dan (also from The Dream Master), which opens up a unique way for Freddy to come back and haunt her in her dreams. I won’t say exactly how, so you can enjoy watching the film but I thought it was a nice touch and it showed the writers attempting to come up with something new. Which can be difficult by this point, given this is now the fourth sequel in a series which for the most part, regurgitates what the previous films had but just in a different setting. So the fact that they included this, was an aspect I really dug.
I also loved all the special FX scenes in this film again. It’s just unbelievable to see the effort they consistently put into these films from those scenes alone. But it also wasn’t simply great animated gore that I enjoyed again. I like the fact that they explored a new form of visual effects with a particular sequence relating to comic books, which was probably one of the standouts for me along with the whole finale sequence.
But that’s pretty much all the positives I have to say about this film.
Although I liked all the practical effects and certain key narrative decisions, the rest of the film was very much the same that I’ve come to see in the others. I didn’t really find any scene in particular that was scary or creepy, aside from one or two moments. I didn’t necessarily hate the characters but I also didn’t love them because they showed the same characteristics I’ve grown tired of. People not believing other people’s stories. Characters being fairly uninteresting and not useful to the story. They were basically there as expendable pieces of meat on the killing floor and I don’t really care about any of them because of it.
Certain aspects of the story also made me think that this character should be doing this instead of what they were doing in the film. There were a lot of illogically placed moments or plot devices that were brought up but never really explored until much later on or were never explained and forgotten. This film could have been much shorter if they had put in the effort to address those aspects, which also could have added more to the mythology of the Krueger universe instead of just touching on it a little further as the film does. All in all, my real issues with this film are just the story.
I did think it was directed fairly well with some great unusual shot choices and Dutch angles being used. I liked the music for the most part although the introduction and end credit scene choices for songs were so distracting and did not fit at all with the serious and meant to be intense-feel of the movie. The performances were ok for the most part, though there is a few cringe-worthy pieces of dialogue that were delivered in a hilariously bad way. And that’s pretty much it.
I’d be inclined to say skip this film because like I said, it isn’t as great as the third and it’s not very scary as a horror film. But I do like the main narrative concept behind it so I’d say it might be worth seeing for that alone. I’m 50/50 which is why I’ve given it a 5/10 but ultimately I’m going to go with my gut and say to give it a skip.