What a real sequel looks like.
If you missed my review for the second chapter of the A Nightmare On Elm Street franchise, I mentioned how you should skip that one and head straight to the third installment titled A Nightmare On Elm Street: Dream Warriors. Not only is it a worthy sequel to the original in terms of the scare factor but it also expands on the mythology in a nice way. Far from the horror masterpiece but hey, it’s a great improvement from the second.
As hinted in the title, we’re introduced to the last kids left from the Elm Street parents, all who are suffering dream-like hallucinations of Freddy’s terror. Quickly they realize that they’ll have to team up to be part of the “dream warriors”: an Avengers-esque horror fighting team with everyone having a certain “dream power”. If any of that sounds cheesy, it is, but ignoring all of that, the rest of the film is much better.
Unlike the second installment, Dream Warriors chooses to focus solely on the horror aspects instead of nonsensical, dumb humor, which was one of the biggest issues with the former. Instead, we actually get something terrifying and in most ways, nightmare-fuelled. I was glad to see that Wes Craven returned to be part of the screenplay and story, and with the addition of Frank Darabont, who later made some of the best Stephen King film adaptions like The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and The Mist, made the film even more loveable. Many of the scenes are actually fucking terrifying, and it was great just to see what new ways the pair had come up with to kill off the characters. Each character was executed with great special FX’s that has become a staple of the series so far.
I also enjoyed the added elements to the mythology and expanding the universe that is all about the main villain Freddy Krueger. The characters that made up the dream warriors were, for the most part, great and I thoroughly enjoyed the setting of putting them in a psychiatric ward. In fact, it’s what I was thinking should have happened in the second film (A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge), because if any of my friends started reporting things like consistently horrible dreams where they’re nearly dying at the hands of some gruesomely burnt psycho, I’d be recommending them to the mental hospital right away.
But as I mentioned at the start, it’s far from perfect. There are a few characters that died off too early that were more charismatic than others. I don’t know what made the writers kill them off compared to other characters who were fairly unmemorable. Some silly things occur later in the film with the characters when they come up with a plan to fight Freddy Krueger which really wasn’t much of a plan. And there’s a few dodgy 80s CGI in a couple of scenes but putting all that aside, I still had a great time.
Dream Warriors is by far what I’d expect for how this series should continue and what standard horror films should encompass. They should explore the endless imagination and scenarios of how people can be killed off, given the fact that they have a freaking dreamlike setting to do so which means anything is possible and should be on the cards. And thankfully with masterful hands that steer the ship, Craven delivers on the terrifying aspects that make him so popular as a horror filmmaker. Yes, I’m aware that he, unfortunately, didn’t direct this, but I can’t help but think he had a large part in making this as entertaining as it was. So go check it out if you’re wanting more in horror or are interested in revisiting the franchise like I have been.
Dream Warriors is still my favourite sequel in the Nightmare on Elm St series. It was so inventive and the nightmares of each character were really effectively portrayed, and the gore and effects were excellent too.