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YMMV / A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Not so much a character per se, but the rundown church itself. As Freddy is being reborn the window behind him explodes and blows him away in the process. Was it just a cool effect for the shock of his rebirth, or was there still some good left in the church that tried to stop Freddy before he could be properly reborn?
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • One of the previous drafts of the movie featured a sequence where Alice witnesses Amanda Krueger's memories of giving Freddy up for adoption, as well as the abuse he suffered from a particular hateful Mother Superior who ran the orphanage. Alice would've then confronted Amanda's spirit and blamed her for how Freddy turned out since she gave him up as an infant. This would've basically ventured into Unfortunate Implications due to recent discussions about the traumatic experiences of forcing women to care for children conceived via rape since they had no say in the matter and are being expected to raise kids connected to their rapists. The finished movie removed this entire sequence and stuck with emphasizing how victimized Amanda was by the whole experience, up to committing suicide when Freddy was originally left off on that technicality.
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    • While Greta's death sequence initially seem to be built around eating disorders since she's a model-in-training, the finished product as well as Greta's personality have less to do with that and more to do with her mother's abusive attitude. The high chair, the doll, the diaper dress, getting fed to and treated like an actual baby while everyone at the party laughs in amusement, all of it represents Racine Gibson's babying/objectifying treatment of her daughter. The subtext actually fits into the movie's overall themes of parenthood more seamlessly.
  • Awesome Music: Kool Moe Dee's "Let's Go" which covers the entire credit sequence.
  • Contested Sequel: Aside from the second film, probably the most divisive of the sequels. Some fans really love it due to its strong cast and dark, gothic visuals, whereas others really hate the clash between said visuals and a Freddy who acts even goofier than in the previous two films (though to be fair, he acts even sillier in Freddy's Dead; it's just less pronounced because the rest of the film is also much Denser and Wackier).
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: All three of Alice's new friends are arguably some of the more popular supporting characters of the franchise, despite the problems with the movie itself.
    • Greta Gibson is arguably the most popular character to come out of this movie, most likely due to how... disturbing her death sequence was. Photos and screenshots of her tend to be the most frequently posted ones online in connection to the movie, but beyond that she was given just enough screentime and characterization (such as her mourning Dan) to make her likable. There's even fan fiction that puts her in the main character role. Hell, there's even an album named after her.
    • Yvonne stands out a lot among Elm Street and slasher movie fans as being the franchise's only important and surviving Black character while being acted and well-written enough that she avoided being just the movie's "Designated Black Character." It helps that Kelly Jo Minter has starred in quite a number of horror movies besides this one.
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    • Mark Gray's decently remembered for his general niceness, willingness to believe Alice, and surviving one dream attack by luck, then turning himself into a comic book superhero to fight Freddy in a second dream.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Freddy's make-up not being as scary as it was in previous movies actually makes sense when remembering his face became more horrific the stronger he got. Here, we know he hasn't fully recovered from Alice's beatdown and he had no more extra souls to rely on so of course he doesn't look as scary as he used to.
  • Fridge Horror: Alice turns down the prospect of aborting Jacob because she's seen and interacted with his spirit and considers him a part of herself and Dan. However, if Alice did abort Jacob that would've cut off Freddy's link to Springwood... yet what would that have meant for Dan and Greta? The previous movies showed Freddy retained the souls of his victims even after he got defeated, so Alice aborting Jacob would've only meant Dan and Greta were still trapped inside Freddy.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Just Here for Godzilla: It's a safe bet that what usually draws people to this installment despite the poor reviews were the extended versions of Dan's and Greta's deaths because of how horrifying they were.
  • Love to Hate: Greta's mom has about half the amount of screentime as Greta does, and manages to do a very good job of acting like a domineering twit living in a fantasy world where she's identical to her hotter and much nicer daughter.
  • Misaimed Fandom: At one point, Freddy forcefully fuses a character with his motorcycle. The process looks very painful, with pipes and wires piercing through his flesh, skin peeling off and pieces of machinery inserting themselves into his body all over. It is...gruesome...and if you look the scene up on Youtube and check the comments, you will find people talking about how badass the resulting being looks, and how it should get its own movie or comic book series.
  • Narm Charm: Mark's death may seem ridiculous at first, with him being turned into paper and cut into pieces by Freddy ... until you see a brief close-up of his bloodied arm and start to wonder what his body must have looked like after being mutilated by Freddy...
  • Sequelitis: The general consensus is despite the Contested Seuqel status, The Dream Child is one of the lesser films in the franchise, with a gothic visual flair that does not save a script that can't balance the scares and humor.
  • Shocking Moments: Alice dreams of her womb and her baby. She's happy at first, until she realizes Freddy is there too, and has been feeding the souls of his victims to make the baby evil like him.
  • Signature Scene: The horrible and cruel death of Dan.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Alice's right as a mother is explored upon in this film. The film doesn't try to pass moral judgement on abortion, nor is the process considered right or wrong. When Mark asks if Alice has thought about not having Jacob, Alice says no because she considers him a part of herself and Dan, not because she thinks the idea itself is wrong. The whole film is about Alice trying to keep her child from other people, such as Freddy, who is trying to warp Jacob into a tool he can use, and Dan's parents, who think they have a right to Jacob because he's their grandson and even refer to him as "It." In fact, Dan, despite dying early in the film, is given more consideration than Alice is, as Alice's own doctor actually called Dan's parents and told them she was hysterical. The film treats this course of action as wrong.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • For all the great looking practical effects in it, the few moments of stop motion used look just out of place, especially when Alice sees the food in her fridge rot away before Greta appears to her.
    • Freddy’s overall makeup is a noticeable downgrade from past films. Between it being a pull over mask to make it easier on Robert Englund looking too rubbery to be burnt flesh and the design making him look much older compared to Elm Streets 3 & 4, Freddy looks less like Freddy and more like somebody’s grandpa.
  • Squick: The film is so squicky that it's the only Elm Street movie to have an unrated version.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: For as rushed and problematic as the movie turned out to be, its cast is clearly aware of the film's issues and did the best they could with their limited time. Erika Anderson gives one of the better performances as Greta Gibson, even though Greta dies before the halfway point, thanks to making Greta a believably sympathetic and caring young woman. Though Robert Englund is always great, he takes Freddy up to an even more malevolent, villainous presence than any of the other movies, despite having less screen time.
  • Uncertain Audience: This is a film that attempts to return the series to its darker roots by keeping Freddy in the shadows more, integrating more gothic imagery and adult topics, and building up the kills as being more gruesome and shocking than before. At the same time, however, Freddy keeps his snarky, jokester persona from The Dream Master but cranked Up to Eleven with even more one-liners than before, which results in all of the kills falling into laughable territory and contrasts the darker and more serious tone being presented here, almost as if the writers of the Freddy's Nightmares TV series wrote his dialogue. In the end it leaves the viewers wondering who its intended audience really is.
  • Vindicated by History: For quite some time after its release it was considered among the worst of the Nightmare movies, but over the years has gained a new appreciation from quite a few fans of the series, who like its darker tone and atmosphere, mature and deeper themes, creative kills, sympathetic, well written characters and a more malicious, vile and sadistic depiction of Freddy than the other movies.


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