Fright Fest Review #9: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

This ought to inject some life into the franchise!

Subgenre:  Slasher

Summary:  Freddy Kruger targets a group of young psychiatric patients.

Review:  Having seen the first two entries in the Elm Street series, I didn’t quite know what to expect here.  The first, of course, is a classic, while the second is pretty weak.  I’m glad to say that this one exceeded my expectations.

Dream Warriors boasts a well-crafted plot that features callbacks to the first movie while expanding on its mythology.  Heather Langenkamp returns as Nancy, the heroine of the first movie, who’s now working in a psych ward where a group of young patients are all experiencing similar night terrors.  With the help of an initially skeptical doctor, she does her best to help the teens fight the evil spirit of Freddy Kruger.

Thankfully, Dream Warriors spends time on creating likable characters that are more than just cannon fodder.  Each one of them has a distinct personality, and this earns a level of emotional investment rarely present in other slasher movies.  The visuals in this installment are top-notch as well, with an emphasis on practical effects.  It’s full of unsettling images, including a Freddy Kruger topless scene that’s just as disturbing as it sounds.  The final confrontation between the titular warriors and Kruger is inventively realized as well; it feels like a twisted version of Inception.

The Verdict:  With its competent storytelling, solid cast, and superb effects, Dream Warriors is a horror sequel done right.  I give it seven-and-a-half dreadful dreams out of ten.

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