A Nightmare On Elm Street 4 (1988)

Starring:

Plot: Freddy Krueger returns once again to terrorize the dreams of the remaining Dream Warriors, as well as those of a young woman who may know the way to defeat him for good.


Holy shit, that dope ass music. Tuesday Knight, who replaces Patricia Arquette as Kristen, also wrote the opening song. It's rad. Anyway, Kristen finds herself back on 1428 Elm, with a creepy kid helpfully letting her know that Freddy's back. Those dang ol' tricycles are back, too. She ends up back in the boiler room, so she calls for Joey and Kincaid. She pulled them back in. "Aw shit, Kristen. Not again!" She actually pulled Kincaid's dog into the dream, as well. And he bit her. Not unwarranted. She basically just went out of her way to fuck over Joey and Kincaid, and the dog by association. 

 
 

Kristen picks up her boyfriend, Rick, and his sister, Alice, for school. Their dad is having a BLOODY MARY FOR BREAKFAST. During the week. He's going to work. Can you believe there is another alcoholic parent in this series? You know, it's kind of odd how together Kristen seems after the events of the previous movie. And really, that she, Joey, and Kincaid are still in Springwood. And no longer in Westin Hills. There aren't enough horror sequels that follow how fucked up the main character is after the events of one of the movies. Except for the horrible Rob Zombie Halloween 2. Anyway, check out that dope Soviet Psychiatry book Rick has.

 
 


And here's our introduction scene: Dan, the hunky jock. Debbie, the vapid, vain girl disgusted by bugs. Sheila, the nerd with asthma. We also find that Rick is a bit of a prankster with a heart of gold, and Alice has a tendency to day dream. It was a little more complicated than the one from 3, but still, all the main characters have been introduced, and all of their ticks/traits set up. Joey and Kincaid confront Kristen at school, telling her to knock that shit off and leave Freddy be. "That don't mean dick. My dog is like me: drag him into your crazy dream and he gets wild." Oh yeah, Rick loves karate. He's got his own little dojo above the garage. TRAINING MONTAGE! Dad comes home, drunk. That true power drunk is something I don't understand. I mean, I'm a heavy drinker at times, but that drink all day, barely eat type of drunk seems unobtainable for me. You have to work to be that kind of drunk.

Kindaid wakes up locked in a trunk in the junkyard where Freddy's bones were buried. And you want to know how he comes back to life? Kindaid's dog Jason pisses fire out of his dick, which pulls the ground apart, and then Freddy's bones join back together and regrow flesh. Makes perfect sense. Actually, it does. In 3, the only way to get rid of Freddy was consecrate his bones. It worked, but pissing on his grave is desecrating it, which would mean Freddy could come back. Why it was a dog pissing fire is anyone's guess, though. "You shouldn't have buried me. I'm not dead." That line has always bothered me so much, because Freddy's mouth isn't even moving, but they tried to fix it a bit in the bluray release by making the picture a bit darker, so it is harder to see his face. Oh shit, Kincaid used his dream strength to smash Freddy with a car. "TAKE THAT, MOTHAFUCKA!" It didn't work. Freddy stabs him in the gut. "One down, two to go." Joey falls asleep watching MTV. Then the model on one of his posters ends up INSIDE HIS WATER BED. I can't gif due to nudity, but it looked pretty cool. Needless to say, Freddy jumped out of the bed to stab and drown Joey. "How's this for a wet dream?" My man got quips for days.

 
 

At the Johnson household, Alice discusses why she covers her mirror with pictures (because she doesn't want to see herself), it is revealed that their mom died, and Rick tries to teach her how to stand up for herself. She's very shy and timid, and her day dreams often involve her actually standing up for herself when dad is on one, or going up to the handsome and popular Dan. Joey's mom finds him inside his bed later on. Rick tells Kristen what happened to her friends the next day at school, and then she bumps her head. This naturally sends her into a nightmare with Freddy dressed up as a nurse, shooting blood out of syringes. We also establish that she has a smoking habit. Alice and Deb work together at a diner, and one of Alice's greatest fears is waiting tables there her whole life. 

 
 

So, Kristen's mom basically drugs her to get her to sleep. "You just murdered me. Take that to your god damn therapy." Not only is Kristen played by a different actress, but she's basically a different character. Her behavior, lines, and personality are so different from the previous movie. Especially once Joey and Kincaid are out of the picture, it might as well be a new character all together. She dreams about being on a beach. A Freddy Fin blasts through the water and blows up a sandcastle. Then you have Freddy, chilling on the beach complete with Ray Bans. This ends up in the boiler room. Kristen ends up bringing Alice into the dream, so now Freddy has someone else to fuck with. Kristen ends up catching her room on fire while smoking. What ignominious deaths for the survivors of 3. Hey, where the fuck is Neil? 3 ended with him, yet he's not even mentioned in the movie or ever again. Alice finds herself saying phrases that Kristen used to say, and even smoking. Almost like she's absorbing powers of the dead or something.

 
 

Soon after, Sheila dies of an asthma attack in class. Caused by Freddy kissing her and sucking all of the air out of her lungs. "Wanna suck face?" "You flunk." Lol. It looked pretty cool. Might have been some early CGI in this scene, actually. And even though 3 people in the last week that have had multiple experiences with Freddy have died in mysterious ways, and the events of 1-2-3 all took place in this city, on the same street where some of these people live, no one believes Alice saying that Freddy is behind this. She works double shifts to not sleep, because she thinks if she'll drag more people into her dreams, like she did with Sheila. I don't think she thought that through. That's just making her more tired and more likely to doze off and...dream. Fucking lol at the way Rick runs when he tries to console his sister. What a goof.

 
 

And fucking lol at a scene where Rick falls asleep taking a shit, only for his stall to be invaded by cheerleaders. Oh, and Alice is with them. A true nightmare. He's then transported to a Japanese inspired room, complete with a koto version of the theme and Freddy speaking like a sensei. As Rick fights him. While Freddy is invisible. Don't worry. Freddy kills him. And then Rick comes back to life in Alice's daydream by making a Van Halen reference. Was Good Enough that big of a hit for a movie to be making a reference 2 years later? 

 
 

Anyway, Alice keeps absorbing the powers and whatnot of all her dead friends, and Freddy keeps using her to get to the rest of them. It's just getting old. It's trying to follow the beats of 3, but it falls very flat in comparison because there doesn't seem to be any story flow. I think part of the problem is the director, Finnish Renny Harlin, adds a weird European flair from time to time that feels out of place. Odd editing every few scenes, and some strange deliveries on lines that seem like they'd come at the behest of a non-native English speaker. The forced quips are weird, too. Each scene with Freddy has him basically doing rapid fire jokes, and while he had some in 3, that part of the character has expanded so much that it is distracting. Alice ends up in a nightmare where she's stuck in the diner as an old lady, and then Freddy goes after Deb. It's a great scene where she's working out, and he pushes down on the bar until her elbows rip, then she ends up in a roach motel, transforms into a human-roach hybrid, and then gets squished. But the best part is that she was sweating and struggling to bench 65 pounds. If that. I'm not positive that bar was 45 pounds, but she only had 20 on the bar. 

 
 

Things end in a show down in a church, where Alice uses the powers of all of her dead friends to fight Freddy. Alice wins, but not from any of her gained powers or new found confidence. No, she wins the battle by using a nursery rhyme and Freddy's reflection. The souls of the children start ripping out of his body, then rip his fucking jaw off and escape. It was pretty rad, tbh. The movie ends with Dan and Alice as a couple, hopefully free of Freddy for good, but still cautions.     

 
 

Despite the top notch effects and very similar structure and story to part 3, this falls flat for me. I like individual scenes and performances, but as a whole piece, it feels like someone figured out the formula and put the movie into production right away without really caring about anything as long as the movie hit the same beats as 3 did. And then someone on the sidelines yelling, "tell more jokes!". The characters of Joey, Kincaid, and Kristen were all treated terribly, and worst of all, there is zero talk about how they're back to normal. Westin Hills, Hypnocil, and Dr. Neil are never mentioned. Not even a passing line. They just...were cured and went back to normal life a few months after the events of 3. 

Everything set up got a pay off, but it still felt flat to me. Script definitely could needed a lot more time to cook, but this was put into production as soon as 3 came out and was rushed on top of that. It worked, though, as this was the most successful movie of the series before Freddy vs. Jason. Certainly not one of the better ones.