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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 9/28/99

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3:
Dream Warriors

review by Todd Doogan, special to The Digital Bits

The Nightmare on Elm Street Collection

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3:
Dream Warriors

New Line Platinum Series - 1987 (1999) - New Line

Film Rating: B+

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/B+/B+

Specs and Features:

96 mins, R, widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, single-layered, Snapper case packaging, cast and crew info circa 1987, DVD-ROM features (Script-To-Screen screenplay access, Dream World trivia game #3, up-to-the-minute cast and crew information, Freddy's Portal website access), film-themed menu screens with animation and music, scene access (26 chapters), language: English (DD 5.1) and (DD mono), subtitles: English, Close Captioned

"Get ready for primetime, bitch!"

All right, so we're gonna forget Freddy's Revenge (part 2 of the series). Aside from reinventing Freddy's makeup and giving him a more fun-loving spirit, part 2 was pretty much a wasted effort. But Part 3 (which we're just gonna call Dream Warriors to save time) - now THAT is a sweet, sweet Nightmare film. Dream Warriors was written by four big names in genre films: Chuck Russell (who also directed), Frank Darabont (the man behind a stack of Young Indy episodes, The Shawshank Redemption, and the upcoming The Green Mile), Bruce Wagner (novelist, creator of Wild Palms, and actor in "Savage" Steve Holland films), and of course, Wes Craven. They worked as two teams, with Wagner and Craven writing the first draft, and Russell and Darabont doing enough Round 2 tweaking to garner screen credit. The collaboration works.

Dream Warriors is more a direct sequel to part 1, than it is a follow up to part 2. In fact, this film pretends the second one never existed, much like most of the fans of the series do. The story follows a group of teens locked up in a psychiatric hospital, who all experience the same nightmare. Or at least, they experience the same nightmare host - Freddy Krueger. The newest member into this group of teens is Kristen (Patricia Arquette), a young woman so afraid of sleep she eats spoonfuls of instant coffee with a Tab chaser. Ick. Anyway, Kristen is sent to the hospital to undergo some tests, and it's there she meets her new friends. There's the street-tough/ex-drug addict girl, a wise-ass artist-type who sleepwalks, a chubby actress wannabe, a standard geek confined to a wheelchair, a "tired of the man" black kid, and a preppy kid who can't (or won't) talk. The cast of characters is pretty cliched, covers all the appropriate bases, and you can pretty much pick out from the beginning who the "red shirts" are, and who will be the heroes. Thrown into this mix for good measure is Heather Langenkamp (Nancy from the original), who is now a psychologist specializing in dreams - go figure. She doesn't know it in the beginning, but she is about to face Freddy one more time.

Dream Warriors kicks the Nightmare series up one more level, and also goes back to the dream basis that Freddy's Revenge missed out on. In the kids' dreams, they each have different powers that they can use to fight Freddy. Their mission is to learn how to use them against evil, and even though sometimes the powers seem a big far fetched (see: Joey's sonic voice - considering he used to talk, why would this be his dream power?), most of the film is justified and works. The greatest power among the crew, is Kristen's ability to bring other dreamers into her own dream world. It's an interesting twist that really works well for the series. The cast is rounded out by Craig Wasson (Body Double), John Saxon (reprising his role as Nancy's daddy), and Laurence Fishburne as Max the orderly. It's a good solid cast, that lends the film a bit of credibility some of the other films just didn't have. Dream Warriors is an entertaining flick, a worthy follow-up to the original, and one of my favorites in the series. Hey - it even finds time to expand on the origins of Krueger - the bastard son of 100 maniacs.

But how is this film on DVD, and is it worth spending over 100 bucks to get it? Well... if you like Freddy, it is. Dream Warriors really looks great on DVD. It's widescreen (16x9 enhanced) and the colors are dead on. It compares well with the laserdisc put out by Elite, and even has the original music over the opening credits (that Elite didn't have the rights to). It's a great looking disc. The audio is available in dual mono and DD 5.1 tracks, which both sound great. I didn't hear that mono echo on the 5.1 that I heard on the first two discs, so it's pretty darn good there as well. Extras on this disc include the "once upon a time" cast and crew notes, the DVD-ROM script-to-screen feature (which allows you to watch the film and read along in the script), trivia game #3 (which gives hints to the Encyclopedia Labyrinth), Freddy's Portal website access, and film specific menu screens.

In my opinion, this is the shining gem in the box set, and its the disc that many a fan will be purchasing the box to get. And it's been lustered-up nice on DVD, to help make the set's asking price worth spending. I don't think you'll be disappointed with Dream Warriors in your DVD collection. I know I'm certainly not.

Todd Doogan

The Nightmare on Elm Street Collection

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3

The Nightmare on Elm Street Collection

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