A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

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

A good sequel should always escalate and elevate, or maybe just reinvent the whole dang wheel, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors does all of that in spades. The screenwriters Wes Craven, Bruce Wagner, and Frank Darabont (yes, that Frank Darabont) unexpectedly veer the franchise into the YA fantasy realm, and it works surprisingly well.

Mr. K comes out of the shadows to play more in this entry, and the franchise finally starts to reflect the quippy pop culture monster fame magnet that started showing up on late-night talk shows, MTV, and even his own TV series (which would debut shortly after this feature). Robert Englund gets more to cheekily chew on, which is damn fun because he is damn good in this role.

As entertaining of a throwback ride this is, not all works. Angelo Badalamenti's score is bargain basement synthwave gone wrong, so much so that it distracts more than enhances the menacing night terror visuals director Chuck Russell gives us. There doesn't need to be a back story to our titular villain, yet the tragic and disturbing one given is so flippantly presented - it's awkward and takes much-needed time away from Nancy and the dream warriors.

ANOES3TDW remains an uber influential entry into horror culturedom and is still reverberating its dark magic into recent fares like The New Mutants and the newest season of Stranger Things. I dug the whole tone and setup of the endeavour and think it's a worthwhile watch . . . or maybe it's just easy to be impressed by one of these 80s slasher horror franchise entries actually trying and being this triumphantly innovative.

Pappa liked these reviews