Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Film Review: Dreamcatcher (2003)

Dreamcatcher (Review)
United States/2003
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It is flawed, but it also offers some entertainment."

A group of friends with strange abilities encounter a parasitic alien during a camping trip...

Dreamcatcher follows Henry (Thomas Jane), Jonesy (Damian Lewis), Beaver (Jason Lee), and Pete (Timothy Elephant Olyphant). When they were children, this group of friends rescued a mentally-disabled boy named Duddits from some bullies. In exchange, Duddits gave them the ability of telepathy. Fast forward to the present, the group arrive in a cabin in the woods for their annual excursion. All is well until Jonesy stumbles upon a disoriented man with a peculiar rash on his face. Soon thereafter, the military shows up in helicopters and the area is quarantined. Jonesy and his friends soon find themselves fighting against an alien dubbed Mr. Gray – a British alien to be exact. (The worst kind if you ask me.) It leads to a peculiar and abrupt ending.

Dreamcatcher is a movie based on a Stephen King novel, which I am not familiar with. I think the best word to describe this film is: interesting. It does have some decent character, it is certainly original, but it doesn't quite leave an impression. I often found myself enjoying its quirks and its silly sense of humor. I also often found myself laughing at some of its unintentional humor – at least as I perceived it. For example, the Mr. Gray's British accent was bizarre and the depiction of mental illness was ridiculously exaggerated – I don't know if I should blame King or the filmmakers. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of working pieces here, but there's always something that hurts the film. The concept is great, the action was solid, the characters were interesting, but it just doesn't work well together.

The acting was good, though. Thomas Jane and Jason Lee were really good. Damian Lewis was okay for most of the film. Morgan Freeman and Tom Sizemore also performed well. Duddits is played by Donnie Wahlberg and Andrew Robb. Like I said, the performance is exaggerated. I don't understand how anyone can think a mentally-disabled person would speak like this. Speaking of dialogue, the only time I really felt the cast was hindered (except for Wahlberg/Robb) was when they were delivering dialogue that felt unnatural. It felt like it was ripped from a book at times. The film looks and sounds great, though, and the special effects still hold up. The film is written by Lawrence Kasdan and William Goldman; Kasdan also directs. This was a solid effort. It's a well-made movie with a few significant flaws. Perhaps the book wasn't meant to be a movie.

Overall, Dreamcatcher is a good movie. Yes, I bashed it quite a bit throughout this review. I was engaged and interested from beginning to end, which is quite the accomplishment for a 130-minute film. If it sucked, I probably would have dozed off. It is flawed, but it also offers some entertainment. The first half of the film was very good and it takes most of its missteps towards the end. If you have over two hours to spare and you enjoy King film adaptations, you might enjoy this one. (That British alien line was a joke, by the way. I love British aliens. Look at my British alien over here!)

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Violence, blood, and some brief nudity.

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