A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors ★★★★

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors comes dangerously close to topping the original. Now I won’t jump the gun too soon and tell you this is the best in the franchise, but whoever tells you that might be telling the truth. I remember seeing this on TV when I was really young before even seeing the first one, but I didn’t remember it as anything that stuck with me in my early journey though horror. Well, it’s time to say that has changed, because Dream Warriors might just be the best horror sequel ever. Hell, it’s at least the best third installment ever, marginally edging out William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist III. First of all, having included Heather Langenkamp is a win. Second of all, all the surrounding characters are never empty and easy to get attached to. Their on-screen chemistry and camaraderie makes it seem like they’re all real patients together. The last thing that makes Dream Warriors succeed, is how goddamn terrifying and amazing all the special effects, set pieces, and especially Freddy are. The first kill of the film is maybe the most disturbing in the whole series, and is pulled off extravagantly with practical effects. The real fun starts in the third act, where our remaining characters are plunged into a nightmare underworld, Freddy’s playhouse as I like to call it. That whole dream sequence is fantastic, they did Hellraiser II before Hellraiser II! Like if Labyrinth was directed by the devil himself, the anti-sandman from hell to wreak havoc and take the souls of innocent children. Maybe I’m hyping this up too much, but this is a horror film made for me. I love dark, surreal trips into the underworld. I love fantastic practical effects used for gross-out body horror. I love films that will feast on my nightmares, and have me waking up shaking. Dream Warriors is all of the above.

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