I don't know how much I was influenced by reviews of Dream Master prior to watching it, but I fear it was enough that I went in with a somewhat negative attitude, ready to jump onboard with the other haters. Instead of just going in and enjoying the ride, I felt myself prone to look for its faults and criticize quite a bit. That being said, N4 wasn't very good, and a disappointment after Dream Warriors.
- I made a point in my Dream Warriors review to say how I'm officially on the "sigh...Freddy's back... again" bandwagon. It's eye-rolling now. Craven crafted great stories to effectively kill Krueger off in N1 and N3, but movie studios be damned, and we see him come right on back. Not a big fan. Now, you may be asking yourself "Then why the hell are you watching N4 then if you know he's not going to die, dumbass?" Well, I love the franchise thus far and feel like I can be swayed into believing he can be brought back in a way that makes sense for the story. However, they definitely didn't bring Freddy back in such a way. I mean...you're telling me that the only thing keeping Freddy dead is if he continues to be buried under a few inches of dirt? That if a dog digs up his bones up and pisses on him... that he can come back? That's all that needs done? OK then.
SPOILER: We all know that Freddy survives in N4 to make a N5 and N6. That being said, I find it harder and harder to stay engaged while watching N4 knowing that everyone will die and nothing they do will work. Unlike Halloween and Scream, we never have any character last. It's hard to get behind the protagonist(s) if you know they are simply fodder for Freddy. We just create this endless cycle of introducing new teens and retelling the Freddy Krueger origin story over and over.
- SPOILER: N4 introduces yet another way to kill Freddy (we are up to 4) which is that he dies...if he sees his reflection? I'm truly lost for words. Well, "Love" killed him in N2, so I guess anything is possible at this point.
- Patricia Arquette didn't reprise her role from Dream Warriors as protagonist, Kristen? Why? They did an OK job finding someone who looks like her (Tuesday Knight), but it was kind of disappointing to not see the correct actor there. Also, while Arquette wasn't necessarily a great actor (in N3), she is leaps and bounds better than Knight. Knight (and Alice/Wilcox) combine to form by far the worst leads I've ever seen. Eye-rolling acting.
- On that point. ALL acting in N4 is pretty awful. Just an absurdly untalented group of actors. What the hell happened?
- I love that the Nightmare franchise continues to follow the same storyline from the previous films by keeping survivors of N3, Kristen, Kincaid, and Joey, around. However, how did they leave the Mental Hospital from N3 and get put back into the school setting? I guess we are supposed to assume that they got released after Freddy died, but I wish they would have mentioned it to help with story continuation.
- On that point, 99% of the movie takes place in said school. Feels super claustrophobic. You rarely see the character leave (except to go to a funeral)
- SPOILER: It's super lame how fast they killed off Kincaid and Joey. They are killed within the first 15min and were killed off without spectacle. I mean, in N3, they introduced a new, creative Freddy that used twisted humor to kill the teens off. Instead, Freddy just stabs and kills. (I did appreciate the one-liner: "How's this for a wet dream" in Joey's death. If these characters were strong enough/important enough to survive N3, why get rid of them so quickly and in a boring fashion?
- In general, They killed off everybody in a super fast, abrupt fashion. New characters in N3 aren't given much time to develop before they are killed off. It really feels like a cliche modern slasher flick. They simply die one after another.
- There is a HUGE drop off in production value in N4 compared to N3. HUGE. The kills aren't spectacular, the sets aren't creative or polished. N4, all-around, feels like a TV Special (kind of like Goosebumps/Tales of the Crypt) Visually, there's just little-to-nothing, which is the complete opposite of N3. Just a crazy drop off in quality. I mean, look at that invisible Karate fight. C'mon.
- Really bad pop/80's music throughout. Feels super out of place.
- We see a lot of Freddy in N4 and when we do, he's not scary in the slightest. He's just a cartoon. A cartoon that can't stop smiling and making one-liners. There's very little to actually be frightened off and there's absolutely no suspense.
SPOILER: I liked Debbie's cockroach death. Super creepy (don't know how you fall asleep bench pressing, though) The "sucked the life out of her" effect used to kill Sheila was gruesome.
- I really dug the scene where Alice gets sucked into the movie screen and how, once in, can see back into the audience. Really creative.
SPOILER: Huge plot hole in this part of the movie where Alice and Danny are driving to rescue Debbie (we are given clear evidence Debbie is awake and lifting weights) before she falls asleep and gets attacked by Freddy (pretty funny deja vu segment, by the way) and they realize they are dreaming. However, how did they fall asleep? How did they fall asleep together? On their way to rescue Debbie they crash into Freddy...in a dream...how did Dan get injured in real life as if the accident happened in real life (there was a real paramedic, they put him under, etc.) How did they make such a huge mistake here?
- On that point of no suspense: the entire movie follows the same formula: kid gets separated, nods off, then dies. While this is certainly not different than the previous 3 movies, its super apparent this time around. There's almost nothing happening between the deaths. One...after another...after another.
- So much of N4 happens in the Dream world, which 9/10 is looks just like the real world (see previous point of production quality)
- N4, like N3 introduces a new fantasy-like plot element: Alice collects bits of the personality/strength of every one of her friends that dies. (In N3, the idea of shared dreams was introduced) It's unique, but strays so far from what made the franchise scary, which was a story grounded in the real world with some nightmares. It really doesn't feel like a horror movie as much as it does a fantasy, sci-fi film.