The best of the Elm Street sequels, this creepy, surreal fantasy features terrific effects, a fine young cast, and an air of grim fatalism that sets it apart from its giggly successors. Patricia Arquette stars as Kristen, whose nightmare leads to a slashed wrist which looks suspiciously like a suicide attempt. She is placed in a hospital psychiatric ward with a group of six other troubled teens who all dream about the same horribly burned man (Robert Englund) trying to kill them. Perhaps the most unusual thing about this picture, however, is the unexpected depth of sadness running through it. There are some achingly sweet moments in this otherwise frightening film which, though not disruptive, are impossible to analyze. The first and most bizarre of these is Heather Langenkamp's entrance, which inexplicably causes most viewers to get misty-eyed, and there are several similar scenes throughout the film. One answer can be found in the sensitive direction of Chuck Russell, who emphasizes the tragedy and utter hopelessness in these kids' lives and manages to wring some unexpectedly perceptive turns from his cast. This is a film in which a great deal of care was obviously lavished on individual scenes (the sets are outstanding) and performances. The results are well worth repeated viewings, and prove that sequels don't necessarily have to be inferior films.
by Robert Firsching synopsis