*Originally written in 2005
Definitely the second best in the series, Elm Street Part 3 brings back Nancy, the heroine of the first movie, and happily disregards the events of the fairly awful Freddy’s Revenge. Featuring a good cast- Langenkamp, Saxon, Fishburne, Arquette, and a decent script by Frank Darabont, Dream Warriors should not be seen as a rubbish sequel due to its many good points overcoming the handful of bad ones.
Since the events of the first film, Nancy has become a therapist/social worker for disturbed kids, specialising in traumas brought about by nightmares and fantasies. The film is situated mostly in a home/hospital for these kids, with Nancy bringing her expertise when it appears that an old enemy is up to new tricks. At first the kids do not trust her, but once she reveals herself as someone who has been through similar events they treat her as a powerful ally. Unlike the rest of the doctors, Nancy does not believe that they are experiencing some kind of group psychosis. The bond between Nancy and each of the kids feels genuine – a motherly bond that both she and them are lacking. It becomes apparent that Freddy is back, and is stalking more kids. The key to stopping Kruger this time lies with the gifts each kid has, a skill only they can bring into the ‘dream world’ with them, whether it be great strength or magic powers. However, the most powerful gift belongs to Alice (Patricia Arquette), who can bring outsiders into her dreams meaning they can all fight Freddy together. As they fight for survival one of Nancy’s colleagues, together with her estranged father (John Saxon) hunt for Kruger’s bones to give them a suitable burial which will hopefully end his curse.
The plot is wildly imaginative, and sometimes flies all over the place, but that is also what made the original original. Again the kids are alone and misunderstood, but it is Nancy who teaches them to have confidence in their own strengths and to not be afraid. Arquette and Langenkamp work well together, and the rest of the group includes the usual stereotypes of jock, nerd, addict etc. Unlike later films in the series, and most films of its ilk, we grow to care about these characters and want to see who, if any, will survive. We spend a fair amount of time getting to know them, their fears, and even see a little of ourselves in them. Being a horror movie though, we know that not everyone is getting out of this nightmare alive, leading to many gruesome kills including a few that are highlights of the series. The film has many excellent effects, although the series here begins to show a reliance on gore. There are a decent amount of scares and a fair amount of tension is built up before the climactic battle. Englund once again steals the show, but the one liners are starting to make an appearance – the more we get to know the bad guy, the less scary he becomes, and soon we are rooting for him and forgetting that he is a child-killing molester. Luckily this film doesn’t go too far down that road, but it certainly opens the door. Overall a very good horror film with so many ideas it could have been warranted being split over the course of two films as a nicely rounded trilogy. The DVD doesn’t contain any features of note, better to check out the Never Sleep Again documentary as it has plenty of extras regarding this entry.
What do you think of Dream Warriors – is it your favourite sequel, or does it stray too far into fantasy and away from horror? Let us know in the comments!