*pinches bridge of nose to relieve sinus pressure* Okay, I don't know how to say this in a different way. Freddy Krueger is a child murderer who was burned very badly and has knives for hands. He enters people's nightmares and then murders them in horrible ways, often while referencing sexual assault. This one is about an even younger kid who gets involved in Freddy's plot. Also, there's a reference to abortion. Hard G. (I'm joking, but it's the the Internet. Hard R. The hardest R.)
DIRECTOR: Stephen Hopkins
I think I'm fried on these movies. I think they've broken my standards by a lot because I didn't hate this one. It is exactly like the other movies in the franchise and there's nothing that makes Part 5 in an already bloated franchise any different than its predecessors. But I could sit through this one. I don't know what it was. Perhaps my brain patterns have changed and there's something that has warped. I'm not saying its good or even that I even really enjoyed it. But there was this zen attitude that washed over me in my binging of the series that allowed me to shut my brain off and just accept it.
The Dream Child, in all its insane luster, tries doubling down on the mythology of Freddy. Again, I acknowledge my hypocrisy in applauding this, but there is something weirdly refreshing of just seeing the filmmakers just go for it. It really plays up the "child of a hundred maniacs" angle by actually trying to make this sequence happens. I need to put a disclaimer: the scene is very uncomfortable. There is something problematic when not only is the creepy serial killer a serial killer, but there is a tie to sexual assault. I don't like that this part of the narrative is in the story and I should have as concerned a mind about the violence that is constantly being portrayed in the films, but the sequence does have an epic scope. Again, super gross, but it does give this weird mythology to Freddy. The one thing I didn't like about these semi-flashback sequences is the concept that Freddy was born deformed and evil. The thing that the reboot actually got right is stressing the fact that Freddy was just a pathetic and gross human being. I know, it makes no sense that out of all people, pathetic murderer Fred Krueger is given immortality. But that story is far more compelling. Rather, the classic franchise has the attitude of throwing everything at the wall and seeing if it sticks. Like I said, that's not the worst thing in the world. In an attempt to achieve anything classy, there's a weird kind of success there. The creepy newborn scuttling around a nightmare hospital has that heavy metal music video vibe, which I don't love. But it is weird enough to just allow me to shrug my shoulders and accept the oddity that I'm watching on screen.
I do like that Alice is allowed to be a protagonist for a second movie. While characters have made it from one movie to the other, giving Alice the front and center position actually seems to give Freddy an antithesis needed to make Freddy interesting. I don't know if Alice is exactly handled correctly. Alice always seems like the victim who is simply playing along with the cards that she is dealt. Outside the fact that she has a very ambiguous ability, she is simply another potential corpse for Freddy. I keep coming back to Alien and wanting a Ripley to take Freddy out. Alice never really reaches that depth. This comes down to Alice's morality center. Considering that I'm a Catholic school teacher who is super Catholic, I do have to talk about her stance about abortion. The topic does come up and I'd like to think that a movie (despite being about a serial murder rapist) would like to take a stance on life. She decides to keep the child, but I think that's for the sole purpose of a storytelling element. The only thing that makes it kind of interesting with her choice is that the child is the only thing that the father left behind. Why? Because he gets turned into a murdercycle. I guess they can't all be theological reasons. Instead, the moral crisis comes from a confrontation from the father's parents, who find Alice incapable of taking care of her own child. The confrontation is more than a little forced, but it does make for a halfway compelling break from the constant murderfest that this movie embraces.
Now there is one nightmare that actually was pretty cool to me. It breaks my rules of creating two dimensional characters simply for the sake of giving them an appropriate death. The reason that this nightmare strikes the note correctly (for the most part because there are beats that are serious missteps) is that the production value is good and I'm a comic book nerd. Every time a fake comic book character is created for a movie, the art is always awful. It never seems fully fleshed out, but this movie gets the comic nerd mostly right. It is only when Freddy steps in that the premise gets pretty dumb. But the movie does its best "Take On Me" animation for the movie and creates a kind of fun comic book world. But, like I said, once Freddy shows up, the premise becomes really hack and the efforts of the special effects and props department is all to pot. Freddy becomes "Super Freddy" and I couldn't watch the rest of the movie because my eyes were rolled so far back into my head. I just wanted to give a shout out to one moment that got close to being really good. I do have a question for filmmakers everywhere, though. No prop department can ever get the texture of comic book pages right. I don't know why new comic books always get a heavier paper stock for their comics than what would have actually been used. It doesn't help in this one because the fake comic is right beside issues of The Uncanny X-Men and The Spectacular Spider-Man. Nothing highlights a created prop by setting it right next to the thing that it is supposed to emulate.
I have to admit, my brain is seeping out of my ears. I have one more of the original movies to review before I have to start watching Freddy vs. Jason. I know, Lauren. I don't have to watch these movies. In fact, I'm going way above and beyond for this upcoming podcast, but at least no one can say that I didn't do my homework or that I don't know what I'm talking about.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.