The OG final girl has returned to help a new crop of potential victims to the dream monster in this third installment of the hit franchise.
When Kristen Parker begins to have nightmares about the mysterious figure named Freddy Krueger, it is mistaken for a suicide attempt and she is sent to an institution where she meets fellow people who have experienced similar issues. The institution has hired a new expert in dreams and her name is Nancy Thompson. When Nancy is pulled into Kristen’s dream one night, she soon realizes that Freddy is back, and she must find a way to stop Freddy from haunting this next batch.
With help from Dr. Neil Gordon, the supervisor of this group, Nancy learns that each of the kids have a specific skill that will allow them to combat Freddy. Neil also discovers that there may be a way to stop Freddy when he encounters a nun and learns the truth about his origins. When one of the teens, Joey, is kidnapped by Freddy and set to become his next soul to take, Nancy and the others must use their powers to stop Freddy, but Neil may have unexpectedly found someone to help him take on Freddy.
With A Nightmare of Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge being known today for its LGBTQ subtexts meshed in, this third film goes back to return of Freddy going full force against what is revealed to be the remainder of the Elm Street Kids. What is even more excellent with this film is the triumphant return of the final girl of the original, Nancy Thompson. Similar to Friday the 13th’s Tommy Jarvis, a three-time returnee of the franchise, Nancy’s return with Heather Langenkamp reprising the role makes for something cool and it is the start of a three-film story arc in the Nightmare legacy.
With Langenkamp leading the new stars, the one who would go on to bigger things is Patricia Arquette, who plays Kristen in only her second major film (Pretty Smart, released that same year, was her film debut). Bradley Gregg, Ira Heiden, Jennifer Ruben, Penelope Sudlow, Ken Sagoes, and Rodney Eastman all play the potential victims of the returning Robert Englund and his boogeyman. This is also the first time we get the now trademark Freddy make up that lasted pretty much the rest of the franchise thanks to Kevin Yagher’s team with Greg Cannom and Mark Shostrom helping with the special effects.
The film also brings back John Saxon, who plays Donald Thompson, Nancy’s policeman father, who becomes a key into defeating Freddy as he had helped be responsible for Freddy ultimately becoming the boogeyman. Donald is the Macguffin as he is the one who helps Neil find his way to defeat with Freddy while Nancy leads the titular “dream warriors” to stop Freddy. The final act brings a few shocking twists that are unexpected and reveals to be the start of the “dream arc” that continues in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, this reviewer’s favorite of the franchise.
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is a welcome return for Heather Langenkamp’s Nancy Thompson as she leads a new group of victims in the fight against Freddy. This is where it starts to get a bit comical with some one-liners, but damn it, this is a fun installment.
WFG RATING: A-
A New Line Cinema production in association with Heron Communications and Smart Egg Pictures. Director: Chuck Russell. Producer: Robert Shaye. Writers: Wes Craven, Bruce Wagner, Frank Darabont, and Chuck Russell; based on characters created by Craven. Cinematography: Roy H. Wagner. Editing: Terry Stokes and Chuck Weiss.
Cast: Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Craig Wasson, Patricia Arquette, Bradley Gregg, Ira Heiden, Jennifer Ruben, Penelope Sudlow, Ken Sagoes, Rodney Eastman, Nan Martin, Laurence Fishburne, Priscilla Pointer.