A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

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

Only one thing can save the children now.

The best of the series so far. To be fair, I'm SUPER biased towards any representation of seemingly individualized consciouses coming together with others in a larger whole: the best examples I've seen or read are Rectify, Manhattan Transfer, and Winesburg, Ohio. While this is not quite on those levels, this is an incredibly smart movie. All of the threads come together in a way that feels really organic; each character's anxieties/'superpowers' are perfectly calibrated. This isn't as campy as the second or as frightening as the first, but it brings the best parts of one and two together to tell a really human story of how important community is if we ever want to understand, much less overcome, trauma. This may not create the origin story of Freddy (though it definitely expands and complicates the origin story), but it still feels every bit as original as the first. This intergenerational, intersubjective tale is the first in the series I won't be coming back to just because of what it means to a particular history, whether that be a genre history or that of the history of queer cinema. Rather, I'll be coming back to this one because it's just really good and it's important to both histories.

P.S. Craig Wasson is the absolute GOAT of awkward psychiatrist bros in this ish. He goes from typical hyper-skeptical psych to super involved in all the weird shit that Heather Langenkamp's character is into after hanging out with her for all of five minutes. After a not-even-date with Lagenkamp, he goes from, "I'd never prescribe x drug because it inhibits dreaming" to "let's get some holy water just in case, nah mean?" Thank you, Craig Wasson. Thank you. You are the one true GOATfather.

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