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

Nightmare-Elm-3

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
More like it.

You know that awkward moment when you have to concede to defeat? It’s a real bummer to admit when you’re wrong, but I’ll gladly I’ll say it this time. In my review of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, I said from my memory, the second film was the second best, and it just gets worse from there. The problem was that I rated it so low, so the rest of the series worried me greatly. Turns out I was wrong. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is a much better film, fits the theme of the first better, and quite honestly, doesn’t even need the second film to even exist. It could be seen as the second film if you really wanted it to – and it would work better.

Heather Langenkamp is back as Nancy Thompson this time around, as she comes to work as a consultant at a hospital housing children who society deems as suicidal. You see, they are dreaming of Freddy, and he is hurting them…only in a way that can be seen as self-harm. Nancy is the only one that believes them. She helps them take charge of their dream ability – the thing that makes you unique in a dream, in order to overcome Freddy’s reign of terror. Meanwhile, a psychiatrist at the hospital, Dr. Gordon (Craig Wasson) is visited by a stranger that gives him some special insight as to how to stop Freddy forever.

I’ll be honest with you, I was glad to see Nancy back in the game. Not because of the actress. Langenkamp can’t act worth squat, but because of the character. When it comes down to this franchise, it is Nancy vs. Freddy, it always has been, always will be. That’s why she shows up again later in the series. She is the protagonist of the series as a whole. No, she’s not in a majority of the films, and the ones that she isn’t in suffers greatly…now…it’s not because of her. It’s because of Wes Craven, who also returned for this film. He knows how to at least write her character in a way that makes her memorable.

As for the story, this is why I like the series in general. The plot changes quite a bit, it gets ridiculous later, but they are still changes. The second film dealt with a guy getting possessed by Freddy, and it unfortunately removed the dream aspect. The third film dealt with two changes – having powers in the dreams, and ultimately, how to destroy Freddy in the real world, which destroys him in the dream world as well – by finding his remains and giving it a religious burial. Honestly, because of that, this should have been the final film in the franchise…but you just can’t get rid of one of the most-loved villains in horror history that easily.

I mentioned the second film removed the dream aspect. It’s true, and that’s the element of the film that we watch it for. How Freddy can bend the fabric of existence through the endless possibilities provided in a dream. So this film once again revisited why we should be afraid to sleep, and I give it props for that. It also revisited Freddy’s original motivation, killing off the children of the people who burned him alive so many years ago. It ignored that in the second film, and that hurt it greatly. The thing about it this time was that this was reportedly the last of the Elm Street children.

So let me get this straight, the last of the Elm Street children and Freddy’s end? Seems pretty conclusive to me, right? This must be the last Elm Street movie. Well, you know as well as I do that there are plenty to come. An early prediction? The next few movies are going to be where the franchise went wrong.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors was able to bring the franchise back, however briefly, to the original theme and concept that the first film introduced. Englund is still iconic in his role as the demented child murder.

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5 thoughts on “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

  1. You are so right that the next few films is where the franchise takes a bit of a nose dive until Craven comes back for “New Nightmare.” Good review, Dave. I agree it was great to see Nancy come back and how the different “dream” aspects change with the story. Good point. I love this entry and I wished the others were on the same tier as this one and the original. Good job, man!

      • HaHa! I agree most of the time with your stuff. Rarely do I ever totally disagree. That’s part of the game we play chucking out our viewpoints on the art of cinema. 🙂 Once again, good review, bro.

  2. I fully agree that this is a giant step up from “Freddy’s Revenge”. From my own recollection this is the second best entry in the series after the original. However, it’s also the first one to use a lighter tone as Freddy is suddenly a lot funnier than he had been previously. For better, or worse, this sets the template for the next couple flicks in the series. Good review, Dave!

  3. Pingback: A Nightmare on Elm Street Collection (1984-2010) | Dave Examines Movies

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