A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

The fan favorite of the sequels for many reasons. This is the incarnation of Freddy that became a media phenomenon: a fascinating mix of vicious and playful, with quips that are well-timed and less contrived than in subsequent installments. Russell's direction makes good on the cinematic promise of the series, fully exploiting the kinetic/visual/thematic potential of battles within nightmares. More importantly, Craven's return to the writing team allows him to build on his themes from the first film. This time, the kids failed by their hypocritical parents are suffering emotional breakdowns from the burden of their parents' sins and have been abandoned to an organization run by more adults who don't listen and treat them like misfits that must be corrected. It's only when they form a surrogate family and use their imaginations to fight off their collective trauma that they find a way out. This effectively deployed set of themes makes the film into a pop-horror fairytale that is unexpectedly moving in a way the rest of the series is not. Finally, it's got the best cast of the series, with Arquette making a haunted, emotionally vivid impression and Langenkamp showing impressive growth as an actor. This film wouldn't have been possible without the first film but it's a better film on many levels, the most consistent and effective of the series.

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