A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

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

Now THIS is MY Freddy Kreuger: an aggressively foul-mouthed, snide, shit-talking, cheeky bastard who creatively & individually tailors his kills and spouts iconic one-liners as he terrorizes a bunch of vulnerable, insecure kids. Every Freddy after this is just a more wackadoo version of the same thing, but to me this is the peak of the character, with the marionette kill probably being my favorite of the whole franchise. The plot itself is more deeply elevated here too, using the “boogeyman” as a parallel to depression, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm and making our characters feel like real people that we actually know and sometimes are. The “our weaknesses make us stronger” schtick has always been a little too silly and on-the-nose for me, but it’s fun enough and bringing back Nancy as now the strong Sarah Connor-esque survivor/mentor was a smart move to connect the first movie and sort of gloss over the elseworld-ish second movie. The practical effects are fuckin’ on point, the Freddy mythos gets an inevitably campy expansion, and the syringe-fingers kill still freaks me the fuck out even on my umpteenth watch. An absolute classic.

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