Plot: Kristen (Patricia Arquette) has just arrived at Westin Hills, a psychiatric ward for at risk youth, home to a collection of colorful, troubled young people. She is considered a self harm and even suicide risk, but Kristen claims her recent injuries are due to an evil presence in her nightmares. While no one outside the hospital believes her, she finds a kindred spirit at Westin Hills in Nancy (Heather Langenkamp), who has first hand experience in traumatic nightmares. The patients all have horrific visions when they sleep, but when Nancy arrives, she is able to link their experiences to one common thread, the monstrous Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund). After Freddy claims some of the patients in the nightmare world, Nancy helps the survivors prepare and empower themselves to fight back, but not everyone at the hospital agrees with her methods, to say the least. Can Nancy help these teens battle back against the pure of evil of Freddy or will he add even more souls to his dark legacy?
Entertainment Value: This is one of my favorite installments in the Elm Street series, as it has you could want from the franchise and then some. Freddy is dialed up, but still a viable threat, the kills are inventive and well crafted, several prominent cast members from the original return, and the overall tone is so well balanced between scares and pure fun. This sequel has some of the series’ best kills and lines, as Freddy is just on point in Dream Warriors and the nightmare world sequences are epic, helped a lot by the colorful, fun characters involved. Freddy battling random teens is fun, but this psych ward is populated by the kind of characters that stand out, even the ones killed off early are memorable. Plus who doesn’t want to see Freddy battle a blade wielding punk princess or a nerd turned wizard? The narrative is capable and bringing back several key characters from the original works wonders, especially after the second movie kind of veered off course. I know some fans disliked Freddy’s turn toward a more comic, over the top villain, but it works so well and helps the series stand out from the silent, plodding killers that horror is overrun with. I think Dream Warriors is immense fun and has all the right notes you could want from an Elm Street movie, so it earns a high, high recommendation.
This one has just one burst of sleaze, the memorable tongue-tied sequence, which features a topless nurse with an adventurous appendage. So not a lot of nakedness, but the one nude scene is quite memorable. The film has some of the series’ best and most creative kills, but the bloodshed is rather low, as Freddy dispatches the kids in more inventive ways, rather than basic slice & dice assaults. He smashes a head through a television, turns someone in a human marionette, uses tongues to get his point across, carves messages into a corpse, death by wheelchair, and even transforms his blades into hypodermic needles. There’s some light blood at times, but the special effects are so fun and creative, it more than compensates for the low crimson count. The dialogue is a lot of fun and Freddy is in his prime here, with some corny, but hilarious one liners for most of his kills. He always seems to have some fun comments in these movies, but here he is really dialed up and delivers them in grand fashion, with several of his best lines all in one movie. Welcome to prime time, bitch and what a rush are two of my all time Freddy favorites, but he has numerous others that pack a nice punch. We also have good lines from his adversaries, with Kincaid and Taryn as good sources of smack talk and bad ass lines. As for overall craziness, the creative kills, great special effects, Freddy’s wild performance, the colorful characters, and blend of horror and humor ensure the movie earns some points.
Overall Insanity: 5/10