Sunday, May 02, 2010
A Nightmare on Elm Street, Part 5: The Dream Child (1989)
In yet another continuation of the story from the previous entry, Alice is back and graduating from Springwood High with the other survivor of Dream Master, her bland jock-o boyfriend, Dan. They also have acquired a new set of friends who somehow have no idea who Freddy is or that Alice and Dan have a habit of getting those around them wasted. Maybe they transferred in Senior year or were on study abroad programs the first time around. Of course, Alice is starting to have nightmares again though Freddy does not appear in them early on and time seems to keep slipping for her as she will end up in the dream world while awake. Freddy is lurking but too weak to penetrate Alice's dreams therefore he is using the dreams of the fetus growing inside of her to try to get back into the game. That's right, Freddy has baby fever and Alice is having to juggle holding him off and the prospect of being an unwed, teenage mother...heavy stuff. Meanwhile, she does get guidance within the dream world from both Freddy's mother and the 6 year old version of her unborn son (huh?) which really just boiled down to "too many cooks in the kitchen."
Dream Child is definitely a step back in the right direction as Dream Master was tepid, at best. There are some really outstanding set pieces built around the various dream worlds inhabited here and even when it gets a bit goofy (the Freddy-cycle), its still pretty striking. Characterization is better as the kids do have some substance to them and die in ways that are fitting to their specific personality traits as Freddy has always exploited when at his best.
Still, many questions linger due to another overly complex, but ill-explained story line. Why is Freddy capable of infiltrating Alice's fetus dreams? How does he use this to get to her and her friend's dreams? There is a tacked on sub-plot with Freddy trying to take control of her child by feeding it souls and an even more unnecessary turn with Freddy's mother and her remains having to be put to rest properly...for reasons still unsubstantiated. This seems to be coming up throughout the series, but it really is so much better to keep it simple especially when the alternative is consistently heavy on ideas with little to no follow through.
Then, there's the obvious hot button issue at stake here. I was genuinely surprised it was brought up at all, even if the discussion was quickly discarded. I speak, of course, of the Big A, little -bortion. Alice has seen Freddy kill her brother, the father of said fetus (whose death she credits with not considering the option), several of her friends and who is now again acting as a threat to everyone that remains in her life. And in the end, more people die due to her decision. I don't mind saying it...seriously, Alice, pretty fucking selfish.