A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors ★★★½

After the muddled second entry in the series, Wes Craven made a fleeting return to the franchise, albeit not as director (it was Chuck Russell who sat in the canvas chair). However, he co-wrote the script with Russell, Bruce Wagner and Frank Darabont, and was also one of the several listed producers. The result is more what the second film should have been like.

Craven's guiding hand is in evidence in the creative ways in which reality and dream worlds intertwine, as well as the neatly drawn and resourceful central characters. This includes the welcome return of Heather Langenkamp as Nancy in a satisfying continuity of her character with the first film, plus a smaller appearance by John Saxon as her gruff police chief father, who has been reduced to the bottle due to the weight of those previous events.

It's a bit like Aliens (as compared to Alien) in the sense that loses some of the original's more controlled chills, but amps up the spectacle and fun - while still paying considerable respect to legacy of its predecessor. However, while it's undeniably amongst the best of the Nightmare sequels, it's let down a little by the occasionally cheesy special effects. There's a sense here that the FX team was allowed such free rein that the ambition of some shots exceeded the modest budget, especially some of the optical process work.

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