A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

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

Content warning: references to suicide

There is enough that is utterly brilliant and wonderfully creative about Dream Warriors to steamroll through its obvious shortcomings. It is a film with real thematic potential that instead decides to be about everything, and thus loses impact. It also dips into cheese and falters periodically in a variety of ways.

However, when this film is working, it is exceptional. The horror imagery is phenomenal throughout, truly feeling like the first film to actually realise the potential of the nightmare setting of these films. Though the scrappiness of the original is fun, this fully formed iteration shows that those ideas needed a budget.

The film also represents teens really interestingly. It shows them as oppressed and let down by adults; there is this parasitic feeding the whole way through and a targeted ignorance. The film also deals with suicide quite well - or suicidal ideation. It shows how those external to those who deal with suicidal ideation just do not understand, and will exacerbate problems through their carelessness. There is one very powerful scene that uses very sensitive imagery, but does so well. Though, those with a relationship with the subject matter may find it too much. Ultimately, I like the idea that Freddie's dream murders are linked to children who are contemplating taking their lives. This is cleverly implemented when we see Freddie killing these poor teens, but then see the external view. The metaphor here works: people overwhelmed by things only they can comprehend, and see, in a way that will be forever invisible to others.

Alas, the film does not focus on this area enough, instead it spreads itself too thinly. But, it does end up as a really enjoyable teen-team-up horror. It is very much action horror - the language of the horror genre is used throughout, as is the imagery, meaning the 'thriller' grouping (instead of horror) would be disingenuous. But, however you slice it, this is a hell of a time and the real highlight of the series.

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