A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
Rating -

Horror (US); 1987; Rated R; 96 Minutes

Heather Langenkamp: Nancy Thompson
Craig Wasson: Neil Gordon
Patricia Arquette: Kristen Parker
Robert Englund: Freddy Krueger
Ken Sagoes: Kincaid
Rodney Eastman: Joey Crusel

Produced by Wes Craven,Stephen Diener, Sara Risher, Robert Shaye andRachel Talalay; Directed by Chuck Russell; Screenwritten by Wes Craven,Frank Darabont,Chuck Russell andBruce Wagner

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Written by DAVID KEYES

"Dream Warriors" begins like the routine nightmare movie. We briefly meet a character, she is haunted by the screen legend Freddy Krueger, and then wakes up to find herself in a state of insanity. She is then transported to a mental institution so that doctors and psychologists can closely watch her sleeping habits, hopefully to discover what her sleeping disorder is.

Then the movie develops an intriguing premise. We learn that the others in the institution she associates with are actually the last surviving children of Elm Street, including her, and they're all having the dreams where Krueger is trying to kill them. One such survivor is a doctor-in-training, who we remember from the first movie as Nancy. She is once again played faithfully by Heather Langenkamp, in a role that no one can fill. She has the know-how to surpass Krueger's implications and intentions of death, and she guides the others through living even in the dreams that are likely to take their lives.

There are other important characters as well. The girl we discuss of that opened the movie with one of her dreams is Kristen Parker, played by Patricia Arquette. She has the power to bring other people into her dreams, and does so with the other Elm Street children so that there's more than one person up against the madman.

Alas, even brains and brawl isn't enough. Most of these children are eventually picked off, one by one, until three or four remain (including Nancy).

Of course, a premise like this needs a solution. There is a nun-like figure who roams the scenario of the movie, weary of the occurrences that have befallen the children of the institution. Later in the film, we learn that she is none other than Krueger's mother, Amanda, who conceived the child from being raped by hundreds of asylum maniacs when she was accidentally locked up in their cell one night.

Thus the movie goes on and on. The nun has a solution for putting Freddy to sleep, but that, of course, involves burying the remains of his body in the ground. Originally, they were burned and hidden in a car collection facility by Nancy's father, once again portrayed by John Saxon. In bringing him into the situation, Krueger's skeletal figure comes back to life and kills him. Krueger uses his death to get to Nancy within her dream state, and of course, he kills her too.

But like so many movies that have intriguing premises, 'the bastard son of a hundred thousand maniacs' is laid to rest, all at the exercise of this movie. It is tentatively titled "Dream Warrriors," since, true, each of the children have a unique quality that Krueger himself finds difficult to combat.

It may have its qualities, but as a whole, this is an exercise that takes too many wrong turns. Yes, the premise is intriguing. Yes, the background history of Krueger's origin is fascinating. Yes, the cast fits the movie's characters well. But there's a lot of logic missing.

For instance, why would a character like Nancy want to study sleep disorders when she herself experienced this nightmare long ago? A friend of mine claimed that it was 'so no one else would have to go through what she did.' Another said 'the nightmares she had inspired her fascination with the subject.'

I dunno. If Nancy did choose this career field for the purpose to prevent others from going through the same thing, she's obviously mistaken. We all remember that she couldn't destroy Krueger in the end of the first film. Those who were going to have nightmares about him could not have prevented them. No, not even Nancy herself could have prevented others from dreaming about him, so what was her purpose? I seriously doubt that watching her boyfriend and mother get sliced up by this Krueger guy would open her eyes on a career in studying this type of phenomenon.

And one other thing that bothered me was a few of the death scenes. One of them contained one of the Elm Street children being guided along the halls of the institution via strings of his muscle tissue that Freddy himself guided. In the non-dream sense, he was just sleepwalking. Freddy then turns to an open corridor and cuts the stringy muscle tissue as the boy leans all the way over the edge of the building. You can guess what happened next.

The whole idea seemed fake. A demonic spirit like Krueger wouldn't waste his time doing stupid, corny things like that to his victims. Speaking in terms of horror context, he would have rather sliced and diced them from head to toe with those razor-sharp finger knives of his. On top of that, he wouldn't be spending the movie trying to be funny with some corny one-liners, like on when he smashes a girl's head into a television set. She screams, and he says "welcome to prime time, bitch." The truth is that behind this joke, the victim wanted to be an actress.

The movie mixes these mediocre-to-dismal aspects with some things that are okay-to-excellent. So in short, the movie averages out. The movie does not live up to its potential, nor does it flop like Elvis' belly. So it is marginally acceptable.

But in a series that was started by the legendary Wes Craven, why would director Chuck Russell want to try and continue on it? Maybe he was trying to make a name for himself in the?

Sorry, Chuck. I have seen the original nightmare movie, and I'm sorry to say that you are no Wes Craven.

1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org. Please e-mail the author here if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.
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