A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

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

"The bastard son of a hundred maniacs..."

For years this was my favorite Nightmare on Elm Street film and what I considered the proper follow-up to the original. While I have come around to the second film, and despite this not being as brilliant as Wes Craven's classic, I still maintain that Dream Warriors is the sequel we deserved. Sure, it's a bit silly, and tonally, it is all over the place. But for me, that adds to the charm. It's basically just Dreamscape meets The Goonies if it took place during a Girl, Interrupted-esque mental hospital and featured the occasional Ray Harryhausen-inspired Army of Darkness skeleton fight. What more could you want?

Robert Englund is, of course, back as Freddy. Heather Langenkamp makes a triumphant return as Nancy. John Saxon's return is less than satisfying, but seeing him back is still pleasant enough. However, the new cast is lively and shines brightly— plus, there's the added benefit of the film casting Patricia Arquette and Laurence Fishburne, who both would go on to be pretty big stars in their own right.

Lastly, the special effects are the show's stars once again. Not all of it holds up, but they still went ham and obviously had fun with it. Want a giant Freddy snake trying to eat someone? Got it! Need to be welcomed to "prime time, bitch"? Let's go there! What about an Indiana Jones-inspired firepit? It's in here!

The only thing that really holds the film back is some abandoned plot threads (such as the "Karen" doctor) and the overabundance of comedy. That and the abrupt tonal shifts work for the most part, but they admittedly don't leave much room for the sequels and add further tonal confusion. That's a later problem, though! For this film, it's just loads of fun.

P.S. I love that they play an off-brand Dungeons & Dragons where the Dungeon Master is the Wizard Master. I never noticed that before— granted, I had never played true DnD on any of my previous watches.

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Richard L. liked these reviews