Dreamcatcher review by The Grim Ringler

It is my sincerest hopes that the novel is worlds better than this film because I would hate to think that Stephen King is so out of touch as to write a story this awful. And I have to tell you, as you may or may not know I am a bit of a horror movie apologist, thinking that the entire genre gets the shaft a lot more than it deserves to but, well, it’s movies like this that give it the bad reputation. It’s movies that aren’t fully written, or that are made for one aspect of the audience that alienate first the hardcore horror nerds like me, and then the people that don’t have a lot of interest in horror that see that movies like this suck. And boy does it ever.

Dreamcatcher follows four friends not long after one has had a near-fatal (well, he technically died and was brought back but who cares?) as they go on their yearly retreat to a small hunting cabin in the woods of a remote town. The friends, having been friends since they were kids (in the usual King tradition, which, I mean, I don’t even know anyone from my college days, am I the oddball here? Wait, don’t answer that) are connected more deeply than other friends might be, having been given certain ‘gifts’ by another friend, a mildly retarded child they had befriended in their teens. And it is their gifts that tie them together so closely, though sometimes they can use said gifts and sometimes they can’t and there is no real rhyme or reason as to the wheres and whys.

While two of the friends are out on a beer run a bad storm hits the camp and a stranger stumbles from it dazed and, well, gassy, and seeing he needs to get some medical attention, the remaining friends let this stranger into the cabin to get some rest. What they don’t realize though is that their guest isn’t much more than a human host now for an eel-like creature that, when birthed from the bum, is kinda hungry. The two are unable to contain the monster and one is killed in the struggle and before the other can escape a giant ‘gray’ alien appears before him and sorta turns into some evil Primatene Mist and blows up his nose to possess him. Which you know, is never a good thing. And way off in the wilds the remaining two friends crash their truck trying to avoid a woman sitting in the middle of the snowy road, a woman that seems to also have eaten a killer space worm thing. Which probably isn’t a good thing. And while all of this is happening an elite splinter group from the Army is cordoning off the entire area to keep in a sudden alien menace that is starting to infect the local townsfolk and is just being a darned menace. And darn it, the friends can’t let the dog-gone alien baddies, nor the human baddies get away with this and so they call on the help of their boyhood friend to help stop these menaces before, oh no, it’s too late!

This movie is wrong in so many ways. How is it that four friends that are so close, and that are supposedly so close to their boyhood friend Duds, can not see the guy for years on end. I am sure it’s in the book but, well not in the movie. Nor is it explained why Duds turns out to be an alien himself, something telegraphed in the film but never explained. Which is the hell of it. It’s as if they read the book, the makers of this cinematic manure, and said, well, it’s too wordy, just tell me what happened basically, gutting the book, I hope, of the sense that kept it together. Now all you have is a weird movie about friends that have an odd psychic knack that, really, only one manages to use where the others don’t really need theirs that much, a chatty alien that is far from scary as it inhabits people, and a subplot pulled from Heart of Darkness. Ok, a crazy war commander, we get it, but umm, it’s been done. Sorry. This film couldn’t be more of a mish-mash. I would imagine that the scenes of one of the character’s inner struggles with Mister Grey, as the alien is affectionately called, were neat, but they aren’t when seen on film. These scenes come off as hokey and silly, as do the scenes where this friend, who is trapped inside his mind as our alien partier has taken over the body, and he can only look helpless through WINDOWS in his head at what is happening. HUH? And hey, I am sure in the book it was swell but chatty, sassy aliens are only funny in softcore movies on ALF, and lemme tell ya kids, Mr. Grey is no ALF.

The film is written terribly, full only of the wit of King and not the substance and heart. The acting borders on hammy, Morgan Freeman leading the charge here as the crazy leader of the Army faction, obviously getting paid by the cheesy line because, wow, he slings some hash in this thing. And the funny thing is, a lot of the dialogue is fun, but not in this movie. There is way too much comedy in this movie considering its about four friends that have to stop an alien invasion and more than one ends up dying. Director Lawrence Kasdan made a Michael Bay film out of Stephen FREAKING King! Give me a break! The saddest thing to me was that deep down, there is a scene that would make a great movie in and of itself – a scene where the Blueman Group, or whatever the cutesy name of the Army irregulars are called, are on a Seek and Destroy mission to kill the rest of the alien menace and it’s a great idea for a movie. To see all these gray aliens as they are trying to get the Army ‘copters to spare them, then becoming into the monsters they are as they are gunned mercilessly down. It makes you wonder what a movie like that would be like. Hmm… Oh, but wait, I paid to see Crapcatcher, darn. The movie is so bad, they actually had to insert a scene to show how ‘crazy’ Freeman really is when he shoots the hand off an underling who has defied him. Yawn. And as I watched, I have to be honest, I almost walked out. And I have never walked out of a movie. Not I Come In Peace, The Carrier, and hell, I sat through Tootsie as a kid and survived, but this movie was so hammy, and so nonsensical that all I wanted was to be out of there as soon as possible.

The funny thing is, as bad as this film was, the intro film, an episode from the Animatrix shorts that flesh out the Matrix movies, the Animatrix film was amazing. Hell, they should have made that the movie you paid to see and Dreamcatcher the freebie.

I cannot warn you off of this film enough. It is exactly what is wrong with Hollywood. They are so desperate to make big movies and to piss money away on big blockbusters that movies like this get made which just ruin the source material, hurt the actors involved (all of which are generally good actors otherwise), dumb down the audience, and generally take the ‘good parts’ of a book and make that into a movie, forgetting to add any real substance or meaning. Dreamcatcher is utter crap, and my score is KIND compared to how I feel about the movie. I wish I had waited a bit longer to see it so I only paid two bucks instead of the lousy eight they sucked from me.

Damn them all!


3 out of 10 Jackasses
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