A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
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Wes Craven, Frank Darabont
Heather Langenkamp, Craig Wasson, Patricia Arquette, Robert Englund, Ken Sagoes, Rodney Eastman, Jennifer Rubin, Bradley Gregg, Laurence Fishburne, John Saxon, Priscilla Pointer, Brooke Bundy, Nan Martin, Dick Cavett, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Michael Rougas, Jack Shea, Kristen Clayton, Clayton Landey, Paul Kent, Ira Heiden, Penelope Sudrow, Rozlyn Sorrell, Stacey Alden, Mary Brown, Melanie Doctors, Donna Durham
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After perusing some of the other reviews for this film it looks like, once again, I am going to have to be the voice of reason:
A Nightmare on Elm St. 3: Dream Warriors is not a good movie.
That does not mean it is entirely without merit, or shames the franchise. It just simply is not a good movie.
What it is is a vehicle for the special effects sequences.
Passing the first sequel by like it never happened, this movie begins with Kristen, played ultra-woodenly by the always disappointing Patricia Arquette, being attacked in her dream by one Mr. Freddy Krueger, esq. With freshly slit wrist, she is sent to some c*ckamamie institute for troubled dorks. Craig Wasson is the head dork, the doctor in charge of not helping any of the kids. Enter a hotshot intern injected into the institute's veins for a much needed "new perspective". This intern turns out to be original ANOES ingenue Nancy (Heather Lagenkamp, as corny here as she has ever been). Things go from bad to worse, with a few deaths thinning the ranks of the sleep-deprived kids, leading to a prescription of a psycho-reactive, dream-inhibiting drug called Hypnocil and ultimately some mass-hypnosis sessions, as well as the resurrection of the character of Nancy's father (played by John Saxon, the only dude who acts like he's been in a movie before) who is given the ridiculous task of helping bury Freddy's bones.
As I've more than indicated above, there is very little quality happening in the acting in this movie. You would think that with a heavyweight like Frank Darabont helping out with the script, that there would be a better one. No such luck. There is barely a script here at all, and apparently no one had an opportunity to rehearse anything other than the SFX sequences. Hell, even Larry Fishburne is made to look stupid. Ain't that right, cool breeze?
However, the special effects are amazing and jaw-dropping. They are also quite inventive. Lots of really great guys worked on this, from KNB to Mark Shostrom to Greg Cannom. If half as much time was spent by the director in getting a good performance from his actors as it was getting good effects from these brilliant guys, this movie would be a force to reckon with.
This is also the first ANOES film to be about really nothing more than engineering ever-increasingly elaborate effects, and the first to turn Krueger into a wise-cracking, cereal-box starring, bed-sheets endorsing anti-hero. Which are not entirely good things.
Also also, hypnocil is the most ridiculous, how did they not think better of that deus ex machina I have ever been witness to. All that, and it never amounted to more than a fart in a strong wind in the movie.
In closing, yes, this film, along with all the other ANOES films, are a part of horror history, and a strong part of my growing-up. But it still makes me cringe.
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