Director: Chuck Russell
Writers: Wes Craven, Bruce Wagner, Frank Darabont, and Chuck Russell
Starring: Heather Langenkamp, Patricia Arquette, Laurence Fishburne, Priscilla Pointer, Craig Wasson, John Saxon, Dick Cavett, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Robert Englund
For the third entry to the Nightmare on Elm Street series, this time sub-titled Dream Warriors, Wes Craven returned to co-write the script. His idea was to finish the series off, as he’d never intended there to be sequels in the first place. We know now that the series was far from over, with the box office success guaranteeing a future for the series. The third entry also sees Heather Langenkamp return as Nancy, the protagonist from the original film.
One year after the events of Freddy’s Revenge Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette) is admitted to Westin Hills Psychiatric Hospital after her mother thinks she attempts suicide for attention. Kristen was attacked in a dream by Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) and she ends up meeting several patients in the hospital are having similar dreams, and they join together in order to take on Freddy.
The original film is a classic, and while the second one is ambitious, it doesn’t live up to the original. This one is as good as the original, and in some places it’s even better. It’s a natural escalation of the ideas of the original, this time a group fighting Freddy together instead of Nancy by herself. Instead of bringing Freddy into the real world, the heroes take control of the dream, using their own powers to take on the bogeyman.
A noticeable difference the third time around is that Freddy is given a lot more personality from the previous entries. Up to this point he’s simply a sinister character, while in Dream Warriors he’s given more comedic lines, with one-liners when he kills someone. The lines he gives in this one are iconic, and have been repeated and parodied time and time again. When people think of Freddy Krueger it’s normally the way he’s shown in this film that comes to mind. Probably the most iconic line ‘welcome to prime time, bitch’, when Freddy morphs out a TV and kills Jennifer (Penelope Sudrow), a wannabe actor. The line was actually adlibbed by Robert Englund, and is one of his only adlibs for the entire franchise.
Dream Warriors has a fantastic cast, with not only Heather Langenkamp returning from the first film, but also Laurence Fishburne as well as Patricia Arquette in her first ever role. The cast are fantastic, making something that on the surface is pretty silly, seem completely believable and serious. The concept is a group of people joining together in dreams, essentially with super powers, and the film takes that concept very seriously, even if Freddy is a little more silly and over the top this time around.
Since the film had an even bigger budget than previous entries, there are a lot more effects. Looking back at them, they have aged poorly especially considering how well the original’s effect hold up. There’s a fight with Krueger’s skeleton that looks corny now but was probably really impressive at the time. Saying that, Phillip (Bradley Gregg) having the tendons ripped out of his arms and legs and being used like a marionette, is still a stand-out moment, that’s stomach churning and still looks great.
Dream Warriors takes the series in a new direction, with fresh ideas and a stellar cast. The only real downside is that the music is a little disappointing, especially considering it’s scored by Angelo Badalamenti, but it’s still decent and a lot better than the second film’s score. Despite that it’s one of the franchise’s highest points and really stands the test of time. It also gives Freddy a good ending, even if it’s ignored in future instalments.
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