A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

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

In many ways, "Dream Warriors" is the perfect sequel. It takes what worked about the first film and expands the world. It's not just one girl being tormented by Freddy, it's a whole group of them. It's not just that the teens are afraid of getting killed by Freddy, it's that the entire world thinks they are nuts AND they're afraid of getting killed by Freddy. And Freddy isn't just sharpening his claws on boiler room pipes, tossing people around the room, and devouring Johnny Depp into his bed. He's turning his claws into intravenous drugs, tossing people into murderous wheelchairs, and devouring Patricia Arquette while he transforms himself into some giant scaly phallic monster in an abandoned old house. It's everything you loved about the first one, but bigger, and more importantly better.

Part of that is how serious the movie takes itself. These kids are all characters, fleshed out and tormented by their dreams. They cling together like The Breakfast Club (and pal around with Laurence "Larry" Fishburne) and there is real pathos when Freddy say, pushes one of them off of a building. It's also the movie that lets Freddy be the pun-spewing jokester we all think of, but that hadn't become tiresome yet and it felt like a fresh spin on what had been a fairly one-dimensional boogeyman, at least in "Elm Street 2." Sure, Freddy drops a few unnecessary "bitches" into his threats, but it was the 80's.

It's almost better than the original, and... actually it might BE better than the original. It doesn't feel like cash-in, it feels like the logical step after the first film. This is also the only other original series "Elm Street" I've seen before, and I'm making a point to watch all of them this October. I kind of feel like, with the possible exception of "New Nightmare," I wasn't missing out on much. The first and the third are generally considered the best, right? "Dream Warriors" is going to be damn tough to beat.

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