A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

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

I haven't revisited any of the Elm Street sequels since the VHS era and I've just been needing a little more Freddy in my life. Of all the sequels, this is definitely the most fun. I go back and forth about whether I like this one or New Nightmare more, but they're so different that it's really hard to compare. I like them both for different reasons.

Dream Warriors is the first movie in the series to really expand on the mythology of Freddy in some really cool interesting ways. The backstory of Freddy's birth is so ingrained in the character that it's easy to forget that it's not introduced until the 3rd movie.

This movie also has the beginnings of Freddy growing into the jokester he would be in the later sequels without going full Looney Tunes. The balance here is pretty great, making a fun movie that still has enough scares and darkness to remind everyone that Freddy really isn't who you should be cheering for. Some of the death scenes are absolutely brutal (the puppet thing still makes me squirm) but they're also super creative. The teenager characters are still likable at this point in the series, making all their inevitable ends a little more tragic. You can laugh and be impressed at the creativity of the kills and still feel bad to see the character go. These kids don't deserve any of the things that happen to them.

I think the best Elm Street movies have three elements that make them work: Wes Craven's writing, Heather Langenkamp being awesome, and a scary Freddy (as always, perfectly played by Robert Englund). I honestly enjoy all the movies, but this is definitely one of the high points in the series.

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