Sunday, April 25, 2010
A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3: Dream Warriors
A rash of "suicides" amongst the children of Springwood have led desperate parents to commit their troubled kids to the local mental facility. According to the medical staff, they all share a "group psychosis" of a boogeyman though as one of the kids expresses, "no one seems too impressed that we all dreamed of him before any of us ever met." Enter Nancy, now a graduate student specializing in dream therapy and keeping herself alive through the use of Hypnocil, an experimental dream suppressant (which will come back into play in Freddy vs. Jason). Once the hospitalized youth start turning up dead, Nancy is able to convince their lead physician, Dr. Gordon, that they are dealing with more than simple mental problems. Gordon also meets a mysterious nun who offers Freddy's conception story and suggests that they must bury his remains in hallowed ground to forever defeat the monster. Through the use of one of the teen's special power of bringing people into her dreams, Nancy and the remaining kids face off against Freddy while Gordon sets about tracking down Freddy's bones to lay him to rest.
Widely considered to be the best sequel of the franchise and frankly, my personal favorite in the series, Dream Warriors continues to evolve Freddy's mythology in interesting and provocative ways while still remaining true to what made the original so great. The kids are all strong with well-developed personalities to differentiate them and with the added bonus of them all possessing a "dream power" to fend off Freddy's actions ("I am the Wizard Master!"). As well, bringing Nancy back (after she was rather bluntly written out in Part 2) and in a mentor role was brilliant though her death was a little too low key for such a central and overarching character in the series.
The effects continue to progress with some especially interesting stop motion thrown in for good measure. Freddy is still (barely) holding on to his malevolence though the one-liners are beginning to get more and more frequent. He remains frightening mostly due to the mental imagery that comes with how he was conceived ("bastard son of a hundred maniacs") and the first we see of the souls of his victims screaming to be released from his torso. Unfortunately, Freddy will become a joke in and of himself for the next few rounds of Nightmares.
Of all the kills in the series, I don't think any is more disconcerting than the 'bloody veins marionette' death of Philip. For whatever reason, that is one that has always stuck out to me and continues to creep to this day. Dream Warriors is heavily stacked with some of the series' best kills if only because this is the only one (that I can remember at this point) that seemed to fully embrace the fact that in a dream you can make literally anything happen. While all of the kids are pulled into one dream at the end, they all see things and set the stage around them based on their own experiences/fears/etc. and this allows them to exploit their created environment the best that they can to take on Freddy. This was the only time in the series where a minor character's death did not seem inevitable (unless of course you've seen it already).
Sigh. It's just downhill from here...