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Dreamcatcher (2003): one of the oddest films I’ve seen in a while…

220px-Dreamcatcherposter

OK, so at first this is a film about four friends who have special psychic abilities, so it’s like Stand By Me, but then they go to a cabin in the woods, so it’s a “cabin in the woods” movie, but then the army arrives and there’s aliens, and it becomes a bodysnatcher movie… But running through the whole thing is a weird bond with a special needs kid called Duddits. He doesn’t appear much til the end though. 

Starring: Jason Lee, Thomas Jane, Damien Lewis, Donnie Wahlberg, Morgan Freeman, Tom Sizemore

Directer: Lawrence Kasdan

In no particular mood, looking for a film, we stumbled across this little gem. With an all star cast, based on a Stephen King novel, and a poster that looks like something was built on an “ancient indian burial ground” , this film seems to think it’s going to be an Along Came A Spider kind of a caper.

It’s not.

But I do wonder if the cast thought it was going to be. I’m not sure how else they convinced anyone to participate in this film.

The thing is, you can tell that it would have made a great book, but as a film, it feels confused and incoherent. Which is crazy, since William Goldman worked on it (The Princess Bride/Butch Cassidy writer, no less) and Lawrence Kasdan directs, (he’s famous for doing things like working on Star Wars and Indiana Jones). So how can this go so wrong?

I guess for some of the reasons that many Stephen King horror adaptations go wrong: they leave too much in, the plots are scarier on paper than in real life, plot trails that are covered in the book are left out in the script, so some plot points go nowhere. But this film shouldn’t do that, because it has LAWRENCE KASDAN and WILLIAM GOLDMAN to stop that from happening!!!

I sat there watching this film, asking myself what the hell I was watching, genuinely unsure what might happen next, because honestly, anything could! The film clearly had a high production cost, with helicopters, sets and locations, high paid actors, special effects… and actually some pretty good gore and suspense.

So, some highlights for you, since I can’t really describe this film adequately:

  • Morgan Freeman and Tom Sizemore unintentionally flirting all through the film. Truly funny.
  • Damien Lewis talking to himself, which is truly odd. His character is American but the alien that inhabits him for part of the film is British, and, well, they don’t get along.
  • Damien Lewis brain is an abandoned factory that the boys went to as kids, and he now keeps it filled with catalogued memories. It’s the kind of thing you wouldn’t normally try to film, but they went there, and it’s interesting.
  • Morgan Freeman’s hair. It’s…
  • The unpredictability of the four guys psychic powers: sometimes you’ll have no idea what they’re doing, other times why they’re doing nothing when you really think they should.
  • Jason Lee gets killed because he’s obsessed with tooth picks.
  • The aliens, sometimes they spread red stuff around, sometimes they’re like worm things that grow and eat people, or inhabit them and then burst out of them at awkward moments, and other times they’re huge X Files classic humanoid forms, but then they might also be inhabiting someone… They clearly have a lot of backstory.
  • It’s not hilarious, but there’s a scene that’s really beautiful where the animals in the woods are all fleeing from something.

And there’s actually a lot more. You really get a lot for you money with this film, which is probably not something that the investors got. (ha ha…)

See It If: You like watching Stephen King adaptations, which is kind of a hobby in our house, and this one has a high budget, or if you want to watch something beautifully shot and completely weird.

 

 

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