A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

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

Hooptober 9: 10/31

Fun pick for the day before my wife goes in for a sleep study. Hope she isn't diagnosed with what the kids in this movie had.

I've had to write so many reviews, especially for horror, around the thesis that a film failed to live up to the potential that its premise promised. This film is thankfully the exact opposite; it understands the unique strengths Freddy Krueger possesses and what would draw someone to this movie. In dreams we're free from the logic of the real world, anything can happen, and we're fittingly treated to a wide variety of creative setpieces to utilize this freedom. It's not as ominous as the first film (2 I considered more conceptually intriguing than good as a total package), yet the execution is just as strong in a slightly more empowering direction. Freddy is as monstrous a presence as ever, but this time, his victims are more ready to fight back.

That setup creates strong themes, too. Individuals in danger aren't listened to by institutions, authorities, and those who ostensibly were appointed to protect them. A fundamental unwillingness to take their own understanding of their problems seriously leads to hardened assumptions that are nothing but harmful, looking at which easy boxes to place them in. On the very direct level, while never going through such an extreme traumatic experience, it sounds like most doctor visits I've had, honestly. Of course, what it has to say about trauma inherited from parents goes a lot deeper, and I'm a sucker for such stories of victimized individuals finding that group cooperation is the key to grappling with their situation. Mutual aid as a shield against nightmare child murderers.

It also has a lot to say about a skeleton walking around and beating up a man.

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