Let me kick off by saying that I really wanted to like this movie. I had searched high and low for it in all the measly video stores in my hometown before it finally aired on satellite television a few nights back. I had read reviews and plot-lines of Nightmare on the Internet, and from what I had heard sounded very original and interesting. I was completely unprepared for the diabolical cheese-fest that Nightmare turned out to be.
To begin with, however, I had hopes. The opening scene of A Nightmare on Elm Street : The Dream Child is one that is both creative and chilling, as Alice finds herself first trapped within a shower (in a seeming nod to the classic Psycho), and then taking on the role of old Amanda Krueger in the insane asylum where Freddy was conceived. This opening is by far one of the most astounding that any of the un-Craven-helmed sequels has produced, as it is both clever in its direct linking back to the roots of Freddy's past, and also eerily creepy as Alice is forced into Amanda's shoes.
After this excellent introduction, it's business as usual - though here it feels decidedly tired and unoriginal - as the traditional slew of annoying heroine's friends are introduced in a scene that is reminiscent of, oh, just about every Nightmare in existence pre-here. While Gretta is a character that stood out as far more indepth and interesting - not to mention funny, who didn't at least split a smile at her 'I've got to go nash my teeth for the Paparazzi'? - she is the first of them all to be offed, so any little joy that could've been acquired from this movie is gone before the second act even rolls.
One thing that also stands out is Lisa Wolcox's shockingly bad acting. In Nightmare she was at least passable, but here - no doubt because of the diabolically bad script which is filled with dialogue so cheesy and nonscensical your eyes will hurt from all the rolling - she is atrocious, and even in scenes where all she is needed to do is scream, she is achingly bad. If I was brutally honest, I'd have to say that the entire cast is pretty poor, and even Mr. Krueger himself seems only half-heartedly in it as he spews some of the worst lines put on film in the history of cinema. This brings me to another point; in Nightmare Freddy is portrayed as a baby, an anti-Superhero and a number of other ridiculous things... and then we are expected to be scared of him. Come again? If you want to create a killer that is truly scary, don't portray him as a laughable comic book character or dumb-looking baby... have him actually kill people! Sheesh!
I feel that I should mention the script a little more than by just dissing the dialogue, if only to air my views completely. With this installment it seems that the writer(s) wanted to go for a more complex and involving story, and for the first twenty minutes this is accomplished with a marginal degree of success in the form of an intriguing mystery. However, fifty minutes in either the writer got confused with his own material, or he just gave up altogether in trying to write something that made sense, and the movie just crawls along at a mild pace until the anti-climactic and completely baffling ending. At times the script is genuinely creative - particularly there is a nice variation on the known 'Nightmare' rhyme, with a child singing 'Nine, ten, Freddy's back again...'. But after a while the script, again, seems to lose focus or give up on being fresh, and it's all so familiar and dull that we can predict what will happen next.
The supposedly climactic face-off between Alice and Freddy is definitely the worst of the series, as the scene steals liberally from other movies like Labyrinth (as Alice chases after her unborn child - huh? - through a laughably tacky-looking replica lifted directly from the end of Jim Henson's wonderful Labyrinth) and even Nightmare when Freddy rips himself from Alice's body, and THEN Nightmare as dead souls pull from Freddy's body. Although the fate of Amanda Krueger is one that does chill and is one of two saving graces for Nightmare (the other being the opening scene), it fails to leave a lasting impression.
Nightmare also boasts one of the worst scores in Horror history. Rather than going for a subtle approach, the music here is blaring and ultimately drowns out what is happening on-screen. It is melodramatic to the exterme, and seems too eager to be atmospheric. To say it fails would be an understatement. As if to make up for this, however, the directing is one of the best in the franchise. It is creative and imaginative, and there are a number of memorable shots.
Without a doubt the worst in the series - and maybe even the worst slasher movie ever, if only because there is no blood to be seen anywhere - I'd advise anybody desperately wanting to see this that they watch the first ten minutes and then rent a Scream movie. This is shockingly bad stuff.