A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) - Rotten Tomatoes

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master1988

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)



Critic Consensus: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master marks a relative high point in this franchise's bumpy creative journey, although the original remains far superior.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master Photos

Movie Info

This fourth trip down Freddy Lane was the most successful at the box-office, but although it has some impressive visuals, it is mostly an empty film. Credit must go to the effects team for some fine work, but otherwise, this entry from the director of Cutthroat Island (Renny Harlin) is extremely weak. Roland Kincaid falls asleep and awakens in the Springwood junkyard, where his dog -- named "Jason" in a sad foreshadowing of the film's giggly tone -- pees fire on Freddy's grave. The pyro-urinary baptism causes Krueger (Robert Englund) to reassemble from bones outward in an admittedly impressive sequence. Predictably, Freddy guts Kincaid, then appears in Joey's waterbed as a naked pinup girl (Hope-Marie Carlton) before slicing him to ribbons. And so it goes. The film has a few interesting ideas kicking around, but no real identification points. This is a video game, not a movie, and the characters seem to exist only in order to move the film from one effects sequence to another. There is a lot to be said for special effects, and the ones here are extraordinary and vivid. However, the wonderfully grim mood and subtle performances of Chuck Russell's outstanding third entry in the series are gone, abandoned by Harlin in favor of a splashy, comic book approach which would, unfortunately, dominate the series' later installments. ~ Robert Firsching, Rovi

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Robert Englund
as Freddy Krueger
Lisa Wilcox
as Alice Johnson
Danny Hassel
as Dan Jordan
Rodney Eastman
as Joey Crusel
Ken Sagoes
as Kincaid
Brooke Bundy
as Kristen's Mother
Jeff Levine
as Paramedic
Hope Marie Carlton
as Waterbed Bunny
Kristen Clayton
as Little Girl
Linnea Quigley
as Soul from Freddy's Chest
Jacquelyn Masche
as Joey's Mom
L.E. Moko
as Lecturer
Mickey Yablans
as Buddy in Locker Room
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News & Interviews for A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

Critic Reviews for A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (7)

"A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master" is by far the best of the series, a superior horror picture that balances wit and gore with imagination and intelligence.

October 4, 2018 | Full Review…

Surprisingly watchable for the third sequel and despite its general predictability it's entertainingly inventive.

April 5, 2010 | Rating: 3/5

Consistently watchable and inventive.

April 5, 2010 | Full Review…

Robert Englund, receiving star billing for the first time, is delightful in his frequent incarnations as Freddy, delivering his gag lines with relish and making the grisly proceedings funny.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

While some of the monotonous effects are strikingly surreal, Harlin's direction creates an atmosphere which is more morbid than scary.

January 26, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Though the Elm Street series contains the most intelligent premise in current genre films, none of the movies take much advantage of their potential.

August 30, 2004 | Rating: 2.5/5

Audience Reviews for A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master


After being scared to death by Freddy in the first and third movie, I was expecting more sleepless nights with watching this film, but no, not really. He's still uber creepy, but also quite funny. It was a strange mixture of the two, but it's hard for me not to be scared of him, so I guess it's understandable. Mixed feelings on this movie, but I'm glad it wasn't so scary, and I was able to enjoy it.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer


I actually really enjoyed this 4th installment of the Elm street films. Tuesday Knight resumes Patricia Arquette's role of Kristen. Actually, I know I will be in the minority, but I preferred her. No, not a great actress, but her appearance fit well with the silliness here. Comments that this is more video game than movie are fair, but the effects are pretty well done in a cheesy 80's way. This coming from someone who isn't generally impressed by effects. The waterbed scene alone is excellent. And kind of funny.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

An ultra-stylish, guilty-pleasure sequel with a multi-layered character arc for the female protagonist who can tranpose interlopers into her dreams. Alice must mature from a shy, introverted side character to an impregnable warrior who can finally vanquish the culprit responsible for the deaths of her friends (and her wide-eyed naivete). Freddy has succumb to macabre one-liners and MTV-generation swagger (like a demonic James Dean), but, considering the prolific series, he cannot remain a frightening mystery forever.

Cory Taylor
Cory Taylor

Super Reviewer

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