The point where the franchise started to recycle an ideas from previous installments to tell yet another story about serial dream kills. It remains ambitious with symbolism and expensive look, but as it develops, the more starts to be campy and trashy. Final result, acting and the characters are above average for your typical slasher, but it suffers from uneven tone - failing to be either funny or scary.
Against my better judgement, this is likely my favorite Elm Street film solely based on the likeability of the cast. Lisa Wilcox is a warmer, more plucky leading lady than Langenkamp ever was, and my boyhood crush on Andras Jones and his ridiculous hair hasn’t abated with age.
Robert Englund makes this film bearable and fun even if it goes against everything that the character stands for as Freddy become a true comedic anti-hero here. Good effects and inventive deaths help but the film goes too far by killing beloved established characters so that director Renny Harlin can make his own heroine. Worst is it that Patricia Arquette is replaced by Tuesday Knight who lack her charm entirely.
I think 4 puts itself at an early disadvantage by attempting to recreate the world of 'Dream Warriors' which is one of the best entries in the series. Without Arquette and with Harlin's strange direction this has the feel of second-rate knockoff right down to the less successful motley crew of teens. The ideas it advances in the middle are interesting, but Freddy should get back to omnipotence. The roach was great.
Without Craven's stamp on the proceedings, the series flounders, even though part 2 is quite interesting in its ideas. Freddy as a quipping charlatan erases everything that made him great in Parts 1 and 3, becoming a part of pop culture. No thanks, but I'll keep watching the series, if only for the amazing effects that visualize lucid dreams in an inventive manner.