A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

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

Hoop-tober Film #3 (of 31)

That's more like it. After a weak second installment that ruined nearly everything good about the first movie, Dream Warriors puts the series back on track in a big way.

Putting Freddy back in the Dream World (and expanding that world way more than the first film) makes him scary again. Sure, he throws around a few cheesy one-liners, but he's mostly terrifying, which is a good thing.

Featuring wildly inventive and incredible kill scenes (Veins! What's on TV?!), this movie puts its stamp on the series.

I'd previously seen bits and pieces of this on cable, so to see it on blu-ray in its unedited form is a real treat. The movie looks great all around. The sets are very cool, and the practical effects are absolutely fantastic. Some do look dated, but it's amazing how much holds up today.

After a second part that could seemingly give a shit about developing interesting characters, Dream Warriors introduces them in spades. Just about every character is likable, and even if the acting is a little stiff, it's not outright terrible. Some future stars pop in, from Patricia Arquette to "Larry" Fishburne (as he's credited here), and some welcome faces return. Heather Langenkamp and John Saxon provide the missing threads to the first film, and it's fun to see Saxon play his character so wildly different than we previously saw him.

And then there's Robert Englund as Freddy. He looks cool (though really his appearance didn't noticeably change too much), he's given some great lines, and he's clearly into the role more than Part 2. He's great.

Creator Wes Craven co-wrote the script here, and it's no surprise that it includes so much of what Part 1 did right, and so little of what Part 2 did wrong. Director a Chuck Russell does a great job at the helm; the movie is suspenseful, and the visuals sizzle.

Fantastic sequel.

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