A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child

Written by John Skipp, Craig Spector, & Leslie Bohem
Directed by Stephen Hopkins
Released August 1989
New Line Cinema

As I pointed out last Sunday, despite its flaws, A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master was the biggest financial success of the franchise, and so almost exactly a year later New Line rushed out this sequel (reportedly taking just 8 weeks to complete it). Lisa Wilcox returns as Alice, the girl who defeated Freddy last time. It’s a year later, she and Dan (Danny Hassel) are still dating, and just graduate from High School as the film opens, along with their new friends Greta (Erika Anderson), Mark (Joe Seely), and Yvonne (Kelly Jo Minter). Nicholas Mele also returns as Alice’s father, whom she still lives with and has a better relationship with now.

The premise of this film is that Alice and Dan have had sex and she gets pregnant (unknown to her at first). And it is through the dreams of her unborn fetus that Freddy is able to come back and torment Alice again. And this time it’s able to get to Dan and their friends even when Alice is awake, because the fetus inside her is asleep and dreaming. As Freddy picks off Alice’s friends one by one (starting with Dan, who falls asleep while driving and crashing into a truck) Alice must once again face Freddy, release his hold on her unborn child (a boy, who appears in Alice’s dreams and calls himself Jacob, played by Whit Hertford) and defeat Freddy again.

This is a tough movie to judge. It seems like it tries to make Freddy (played to perfection again by Robert Englund) a little scary again in some scenes, which I appreciate, but then it undermines that effort with some more of absurd death scenes, such as Freddy facing Mark in a comic-book, dressed as a superhero. I like the scenes where Alice dreams that she’s Amanda Krueger and relives Freddy’s conception and birth, but the bit at the end where after Alice frees the souls of her friends from Freddy’s body, reducing him back into an infant, and then the ghost of Amanda appears (played by Beatrice Boepple) and absorbs him back into her stomach just seemed weird.

Once again Lisa Wilcox gives a standout performance, and almost single-handily saves this film from being a complete disaster. Unlike Nancy, who was bumped off in A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Alice actually gets to survive her 2nd film appearance, and considering how formidable her character was it’s easy to see why the producers made that decision, since we do get a hint at the end of Freddy’s possible return.

Ultimately this film doesn’t harm the franchise, but it doesn’t really add anything to it either. You could just skip it and the next sequel and jump right to Freddy vs. Jason without feeling as if you’d missed anything. It’s a shame because, like A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge I feel that with a few tweaks it could have been much better.


A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child


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