A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

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

I decided to move straight to this sequel because it appeared to have the best score and I heard that you didn't need to see the second movie in order to understand it. I was keen to check out what appears to be seen as the high point of the sequels before diving in and I have to say, I was not disappointed.

The effects side of things has been stepped up. The performances still aren't great, but they are definitely not as bad as in the first movie. The returning character (who I won't name to avoid spoilers) is definitely a better actor here than in the first movie. That character proves to have learnt a few tricks since the first film, leading to some interesting developments in the story.

The title "Dream Warriors" comes from the discovery by the children that they have unique abilities when they dream. The rather more contrived skill by one of them to draw other people into their dreams has the upside of allowing the dreamers to team up against Freddy.

We get some more explanation of Freddy's backstory from a mysterious nun who appears and disappears out of nowhere (in the real world, not in dreams). We also get some rather bonkers "Jason And The Argonauts" style effects (also in the real world, not in dreams). So admittedly there are some parts of this film which are a little daft (though arguably not substantially more daft than the original entry).

Another problem I had with this film was the lack of rules. Now admittedly the ending of the first film seemed to throw any rules into the air (apparently because Craven originally wanted to finish with a "the whole thing was one big dream" ending), but the problem here seems to be a more consistent case of "ghost story logic". Whether someone is doing well against Freddy or losing to Freddy seems to just depend on what Freddy feels like at the time. In the first movie, I was inclined to presume that Freddy must just be sadistically toying with the kids the whole time, but this time around he seems to skip liberally from doing whatever he wants to having trouble stopping the children with no obvious logic between the two. If I were Freddy and I noticed the dreamers were getting quirky little powers I'd choose THAT moment to start making scalding hot walls close in on them.

Towards the beginning of the film, Freddy seems to be genuinely creepy, particularly in a scene where one of the teenagers dreams he's being used like a puppet. The point where Freddy laughs and cuts the strings is extremely effective and haunting. As the film goes on, the film becomes more and more quirky and less and less scary, but it's good solid fun right to the end.

This isn't a fantastic movie, but it's still really good fun and I'm inclined to say it's better than the first entry. The effects are creative, the acting has improved, the shifts in the story are inventive and I don't think overall it is really much less scary than the original (though it is definitely less gory). I'd give this a more-than-solid:

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