A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

A group of teens at a high-risk hospital are stalked by Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund). It’s up to Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) to help and mentor the teens to defeat Freddy.

Director: Chuck Russell

Cast: Heather Langenkamp, Craig Wasson, Patricia Arquette, Laurence Fishburne, Robert Englund, Ken Sagoes

MPAA Rating: R for adult situations, language, nudity, and violence

Fun Fact: Fans of Jennifer Rubin who portrayed the addict Taryn in the film have told Rubin they’ve quit drugs because of her character. Rubin has stated she is very proud about that.

After A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, New Line Cinema decided another sequel was needed for the franchise. Wes Craven came up with a script that was a direct sequel to the first film. Dream Warriors makes no references to the 2nd film which is nice because it continues the story in a unique way.

This film is a well-made sequel and one of the better ones in horror film history. With Craven back in a screenwriter role, we get a polished script with powerhouse scenes that hit you from the very beginning. There’s fantastic visuals that are memorable and for a horror film that’s needed. The boarded-up house to the boiler room are well built and have a genuine creepy look. When the film starts it kicks off with a bang and you will be invested for the entire film. Another strong point of the film is the creative deaths to some of the characters. It has some of the best death scenes in the franchise and you will need to see the film if you haven’t. Freddy is at his peak, and I honestly think this is the scariest that he ever is in the series. He has his one liners but, he’s still dark and wants to do horrible things to the teens in the hospital. This is all due to Robert Englund having Craven’s well written script. Another thing that makes the script work is the fact that the teens in the film want to fight Freddy. The other films up to that point the characters needed to fight Freddy because they had to. This one the teens want to get rid of Freddy because they want to live.

The best part of the film is the characters. You get to know them and you want to see them succeed and you don’t want to see them die. One of my favorite performances from the film is from Craig Wasson. He portrays his character Neil Gordon as a doctor that wants to help these teens with their problems because he cares about them. With Heather Langenkamp back as Nancy you get the fighter that you had like in the first film. With the addition to Patricia Arquette as Kristen, you have two characters that work well with each other when they are on screen together. Langenkamp and Arquette have a great chemistry that drives the film right up to the climax. My personal favorite character in Kincaid played by Ken Sagoes. Sagoes portrays Kincaid as someone that’s concerned about his friends and can be sarcastic just like a teen would.

While there’s plenty of great visuals and characters, there’s a few minor flaws. Some of the effects are dated but, then again special effects at that time can be hit and miss. There was one character that I would’ve liked to see more was Dr. Simms played by Priscilla Pointer. She had a Nurse Ratched type character to her that would’ve been more interesting to see. Then again, there is quite a bit going on already so something had to be cut for time.

Overall, A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is a successful sequel to the franchise. It has great visuals and death sequences. The characters are memorable and acted well and you feel bad when one of them dies. Freddy Krueger is at his absolute peak and he hasn’t been turned into a complete clown that he will be later. It even has an awesome soundtrack of 80’s metal with the memorable title song written by Dokken. With key people returning to the franchise you get a very solid horror film and you will enjoy every minute of this film.

Verdict: Hit

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