Movie Review – A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

1987 New Line Cinema

Three Stars

Even though the first sequel was kind of strange it made even more money than the original Nightmare and that of course meant another Nightmare was soon in the works. Dream Warriors thankfully is a major step up from the second in the quality department. Wes Craven, who had not taken part in the first sequel, jumped back on board for this one contributing to the story and screenplay as well as acting as one of the executive producers. Heather Langenkamp returned as Nancy and John Saxon returned as her father.
As the movie begins we are introduced to Kristen, a teen who is having very nasty nightmares featuring everyone’s favorite razor glove wearing dead psycho Freddy. After what her mother thinks is a suicide attempt Kristen is taken to a psychiatric hospital where we are introduced to even more teens suffering from terrifying nightmares, all of them including a stylish dude in a striped sweater. The staff is at a loss how to deal with the problem but help comes in the form of Nancy Thompson now a specialist in dream research. Nancy of course is familiar with their problems and especially with the dream invader now haunting them. In a cool twist it turns out each of the potential dream victims has special skills within their dreams the most powerful being Kristen’s ability to bring other people into her dreams. Together they team up to try and take down Freddy once and for all.
This is a very fun movie. The filmmakers made good choices with the story and steered Freddy back on course after his dabbling with possession in the previous movie. Returning Freddy to where he belongs in the dream world was a must; also the lack of exploding birds and naked ass whipping is a definite plus. The cast is great and Robert Englund is in top form as Freddy, the last time in the series that he would truly be Freddy and not the semi-comic smart ass the part evolved into (although this is where Freddy’s comic side started to creep in). The deaths are clever and some are quite gruesome. The origin of Freddy is revealed and for once is not a disappointment unlike most horror movie icon origins. Freddy is vile for a reason and that is made very clear in this story.
All in all this is a great entry in the series and my second favorite behind the original. The movies that came after this one I consider to be pretty worthless. I still enjoy them to a certain degree but in my mind Freddy died in this movie and stayed dead.

The good:

It was nice to see the character of Nancy again. The ending of the original Nightmare was not exactly clear on whether she lived or died and this movie ties up that loose end nicely.

Great set designs and lighting for Nightmare land.

The many mirrored hallway.

Love this scene.

The death of Freddy.

Well done scene. This should have been the end.

 The not so good:

Freddy slashes Kristin’s wrist in a dream but in the real world she is holding a razor. What the hell? If Freddy made her slash her own wrist what was with the faucet that turns into Freddy’s claw? In the first movie when Freddy hangs Rod in the jail cell he manipulates the sheet but what happened here? Did he manipulate Kristin?

So did she slash her own wrist or did Freddy?

Freddy carved a message on Joey’s chest, didn’t the medical staff notice?

In the first movie if someone is injured in their dreams the injury shows up in the real world whether it be a cut or burn. Shouldn’t Phillip’s tendons be torn out and exposed in the real world in this movie?

The light should not have come on.

Random thoughts and observations:

This movie set the formula for the remaining movies in the series. For the most part each movie after this one features Freddy being resurrected in the beginning, a group of teenagers each with a certain character trait that Freddy can exploit, Freddy’s apparent death, and a wink to the audience to let everyone know Freddy is not really dead.

You can clearly see the wire that pulls the wheelchair of doom.

You can see through Kincaid.

Favorite kills:

Phillip the puppet. Despite the inconsistency listed above.

Freddy doesn’t believe in fairy tales.

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