A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

I would like to nominate 'Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master' as the worst of the series. This may or may not be a controversial opinion given the qualities of 5 and 6, but to me, it is a drifting, charmless hack job consisting of barely coherent strings of passingly 'clever kills' and lazy quipping rooted in the dross of 1980's culture (Freddy as Jaws!, Freddy as Invisible Karate Expert!, etc.) It also probably seems worse than it might otherwise seem due to its coming directly after 'NOES 3', one of the very best of the series, assassinating whatever characters are left from that installment and introducing us to unrelated teens ripe for killing. This is a film which cannot bring itself to care even a little about any of its own characters. In all of these respects, 'NOES 4' represents the nadir of the slasher cycle: a hollow, formulaic exercise which exists as studio product because it must. I can't think of a comparable Halloween, Texas Chainsaw or Friday the 13th analogue (some of those might have been equally as bad, but at least they went in slightly different directions to achieve the badness). It pains me to say this, because I love these movies and honestly, I love Renny Harlin, whose 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is one of my most favorites. This movie is so generic that I can't even remember if I had watched it before or if it just seemed so familiar in all of its beats and lame concepts. What stands out does so for reasons of subcompetency or for mean, cynical grossness. I mean, not everything here sucks completely (I like some of the lighting choices, it is shot well throughout, I kind of like the Alice-readies-herself-for-combat-montage and the 'Rialto-into-Crave-Inn' sequence is pretty good until it really really isn't) and I am sure it has its defenders (if this is your favorite movie, I mean, right on! that would be pretty awesome if it were the case), but for me it was difficult to get through. 'NOES 5' has a kind of nasty, grotty energy and 'NOES 6' is the filmic equivalent of putting all of the breakfast cereals in those little rectangular row houses of cellophaned-together cereal boxes together into one bowl and eating all of it at once, so they score on those points. 'New Nightmare' is one of my favorite movies, and rivals the first and the third and 'Freddy vs. Jason' for being my personal best-of-series. I welcome counter-arguments! Sorry to be a downer on this one...

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