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Overall Rating
2.44

Awesome: 6.78%
Worth A Look: 18.08%
Average: 25.42%
Pretty Bad: 11.86%
Total Crap37.85%

12 reviews, 105 user ratings


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Dreamcatcher
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by Doug Bentin

"Great art? Please. Great trash? Get a grip. Good trash? Oh, yeah."
4 stars

Every so often a genre film comes along that defies mainstream, middle-class criticism and just lies there on its back, wanting no more than to have its tummy rubbed. It’s dumb, sloppy, over the top and derivative, but more fun than watching your little brother get grounded for something you did.

“Movies are so rarely great art, that if we cannot appreciate great trash, we have very little reason to be interested in them.” So saith Pauline Kael in an essay (“Trash and the Movies”) you have to read and come to grips with if you want to be taken seriously as a film buff. You don’t have to agree with her, but you have to be familiar with her stand on this point.

I know I’ve quoted Kael’s famous mantra before, but it remains the essential statement for fans of motion pictures, and especially for those of us who review the damn things.

Case in point—I sound just like Rod Serling when I say that, don’t I—this week’s major release, “Dreamcatcher.” The movie is based on a novel by Stephen King, but this isn’t the King who has been adapted to the screen recently. There isn’t much to touch the heart, a la “The Green Mile” or “Hearts in Atlantis” in this one. This one is nasty. This one is reading comic books with a flashlight under the blanket. This one is staying up way past bedtime on Friday night to watch Shock Theater on TV. This one is visiting a cemetery at gloaming and having your asshole brother creeping around between the headstones whispering, “They’re coming to get you, Barbara” with a lousy Boris Karloff lisp.

This one is about why that burnt out cabin in the woods still seems so creepy, even after you’ve grown up.

See, there are these four friends: psychologist Henry “H” Devlin; Gary “Jonesy” Jones; Joe “Beaver” Clarenden; and Pete Moore. (Thomas Jane, Damian Lewis, Jason Lee, and Timothy Olyphant) Twenty years ago, they saved “Duddits,” an apparently retarded kid, from a beating. In return, Duddits somehow gave them the ability to read minds.

Now they’ve drifted away from Duddits, but they stay in touch with each other and every winter spend a few days in a cabin in the Maine woods, doing a little hunting, a little poker playing, and a lot of hanging out. This year, something weird is happening in the woods. The animals are vamoosing and a fat guy they’ve never seen before shows up at the cabin looking for help. He got lost from his hunting party and his face is covered with this nasty red soreness. When he goes to use the bathroom, something we will later learn is nicknamed a “shit weasel” escapes from his body by the back door, if you know what I mean. The icky red stuff on his face is called “ripley,” after the Sigourney Weaver character in “Alien.”


Yes, the bad tempered things from space have arrived, and they’re hungry and looking for a place to reproduce.

Enter into the story Morgan Freeman and Tom Sizemore. Freeman is Col. Kurtz, a soldier in a special force who has been hunting and killing alien invaders for 25 years, and Sizemore is Capt. Underhill, Kurtz’ heir apparent. They are here to contain this particular alien landing, killing everyone and everything unfortunate enough to be within the perimeter of alien infestation.

Is this stuff silly? You bet it is. Does the movie go flying off in all directions, from ESP drama to space monster-stomping melodrama? Not just yes, but hell yes. Are there times when you feel confused? Not if you’re paying attention and you’re over twelve years old. (The film does contain a lot of blood and swearing, so maybe you shouldn’t even be watching if you’re younger than 12. Wait for the DVD and then sneak out to the den after your parents have gone to sleep to watch it. I won’t tell.)

I know, you expect more than this kind of thing from director Lawrence Kasdan, whose “The Big Chill” and “Grand Canyon” were emotional dramas of human compassion and warmth. But don’t forget that Kasdan also made “Silverado” and “Body Heat,” and so has demonstrated at least a slight appreciation for genre films.

In this one, he lets his hair down, grabs a baseball bat, and wallops the hell out of the piñata, scattering goodies all over the place.

One of the things I like about “Dreamcatcher,” derived I’m certain from King’s novel (sorry, but I haven’t read it), is the fact that these characters exist in the real world, one in which they’ve seen movies like “Alien” and remember the simple pleasures of “Scooby-Doo” after school. The truth is, Scoob is made better use of here than he was in his own movie in 2002.

Okay, “Dreamcatcher” isn’t going to win any awards, even within the sci fi/horror movie ghetto, but it is a lot of creepy, gory fun. The actors playing the four pals are all good—even Jason Lee, who is usually pretty dull—and Damian Lewis is more than good. Jonesy should have been a breakout role for him.
It’s also nice to see Morgan Freeman play a bad guy and borderline psychotic for a change. It’s no coincidence that his name is the same as that of Joseph Conrad’s mad Mr. Kurtz in “Heart of Darkness.”

But if “Dreamcatcher” isn’t great art—and honestly, it isn’t really great trash, either—it is solidly made, jump-a-little-and-grab-your-date’s-arm second tier trash, and, at that level, a lot of fun.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=7336&reviewer=405
originally posted: 09/24/05 01:13:12
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User Comments

6/04/12 kriz scooby doo, the library and the people .. well those are just like in the book. 3 stars
4/18/11 nb decent movie. 5 stars
12/21/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Read the novel 2 stars
12/18/10 PAUL SHORTT UNINTERESTING SILLY HORROR 1 stars
6/19/09 Jess O The book is far better. It lacks the cheesy crap (See: ending of film), and explains more 4 stars
1/17/09 Shaun Wallner Very Stupid! 1 stars
7/30/08 chris f not a bad mvoie worth watching 4 stars
12/02/07 Leestu From a great book (really, it is) this could have been so much better. 4 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega Stephen King adaption, that's like 'Alien'. But still, it's fun. 3 stars
11/05/06 Ronin I have to read the book. If people say it's much better than the movie... 3 stars
8/19/06 Michele the end of the book was better 3 stars
7/17/06 mark shit-the novel was one of King's best-but the movie...well you go see it 2 stars
3/31/06 Dorothy Drake I Loved it!! 5 stars
12/14/05 deadfishrman after the book it was pretty cool 4 stars
11/26/05 shell bell An ok movie, but nothing like the book 3 stars
11/22/05 Kurtis J. Beard Horrible. Why Jason Lee? Why? 1 stars
9/24/05 Blutarsky Say what? Were you high? C'mon admit it. You were. 1 stars
8/11/05 ES I'm so torn, part of me wants to love it the other thinks it was really bad 3 stars
7/10/05 susee nothin much in it..even to say y it sucked big time 1 stars
6/09/05 Darth Pigeon i liked the movie alot 4 stars
2/09/05 nannette ryan The movie was ok. It is a movie you would curl up with on a Sunday afternoon. 3 stars
2/01/05 Steve Newman Sad as I am I enjoyed - now to buy the book 4 stars
1/30/05 Littlepurch Good cast, lots of potential, promising start... so what the HELL happened?! 2 stars
1/14/05 Al Guy Wasn't awful, just not that good. 3 stars
11/08/04 lucas very very bad! 2 stars
10/29/04 Mark Louis Baumgart What a godawful piece of shit. Blame King, blame Martians, but it's worse than a root canal 1 stars
10/20/04 bridget williams The movie was good> I thought stephen king wrote it 5 stars
8/24/04 American Slasher Goddess Starts off good, then about 30 mins in, it totally falls apart. 1 stars
8/05/04 H.P. Lovecraft How DARE anyone connect this absurd geasy fart of a movie with my name! 1 stars
8/01/04 psychotic black dwarf jack-O says Lovecraft + Carpenter...add Clive Barker to account for shit-weasels & bingo! 1 stars
7/24/04 Sandy Turynowicz ok 3 stars
7/11/04 Vince This tries to cram too many ideas, but still an enjoyable flick 4 stars
7/08/04 Denise Duspiva What insanity made them change the ending 3 stars
4/26/04 Lord Jiggy Lame, sad, feeble. Waste of everyone's time, including the viewer. 1 stars
3/20/04 Jack-pyschO-Lantern More like the callobration of H.P. Lovecraft & John Carpenter, rather than Stephen King 3 stars
3/19/04 Cary Gordon Lost any impact it might have had in book form. Ending sucked most! 1 stars
3/17/04 alex I liked it 4 stars
3/17/04 HorrorMovieFan Anyone notice the Pennywise Lives sign in the sewer pipe. That might mean an IT 2 is around 2 stars
3/06/04 zaw waste of time 1 stars
2/27/04 Whatevr When I first saw this movie, I thought I lost 10 IQ points. 1 stars
2/23/04 Naturezrevenge I'm sorry but Diddits rocked. Aliens coming out of peoples asses, Scooby Doo and worms. wee 4 stars
2/21/04 Denise Duspiva Unworthy of the book it destroyed Duddits 3 stars
1/31/04 Dr.Lecter Inbred dung beetles with Tourette's could make a better movie than this cinematic rimjob 1 stars
1/26/04 American Slasher Goddess Watchable stuff. 3 stars
1/23/04 pooh my pants bin man! duno i live in a bin i aint seen it 1 stars
1/20/04 Kristen Heinously stupid. the gun started ringing OMG aliens out of asses 1 stars
1/19/04 Lightbeing I have seen the movie yesterday. It SUCKS big time. No horror at all, more humor. 1 stars
1/17/04 J The beginning and the bathroom scene is cool! The rest is crap! ** out 4 3 stars
1/14/04 Bastian Loved it 4 stars
1/05/04 tricky dick this is the worst form of public entertainment since christians were fed to the lions!!! 1 stars
1/02/04 Jack You will not believe how bad this movie is. It makes no sense. The ending is shit. 1 stars
12/19/03 KingNeutron Worst movie of 2003 for me. 0 stars. Demanded my money back. 1 stars
12/09/03 Suzee Yanez It wasn't that bad. If you can follow it, it is fairly interesting. Un urm ill urld. 3 stars
12/08/03 lilcutie an okay film 3 stars
11/23/03 Julie Swenson HORRIBLE!!! HORRIBLE!!! Even MORE horrible than horrible. A Root-Canal of a Movie!! 1 stars
11/23/03 J I saw it. Only the beginning its but the rest is crap. ** out of **** 3 stars
11/12/03 Phil M. Aficionado Fell asleep. But the movie was a nightmare anyway, no big deal to snooze 2 stars
10/20/03 Horrific Honestly, this is the worst goddamn movie I've seen in some time. Makes NO sense whatever. 1 stars
10/19/03 Lord Jiggy Not as bad as most claimed, decent actors working hard with little support from script. 3 stars
10/17/03 Toadvine Its like Cujo. Except the dog is a shit worm. 3 stars
10/10/03 Erik Van Sant Does for taking shits what taking shits does for taking shits. 1 stars
10/07/03 KingNeutron Sucked all ass. I walked out after an hour and demanded my money back. 1 stars
10/03/03 Timmy GREAT 5 stars
10/02/03 othree lack luster, cliche, was better left in print 2 stars
10/01/03 Mickey With A C Sucks!Sucks!Sucks!Sucks!Sucks!Sucks! 1 stars
9/23/03 Ricky Good movie 5 stars
9/18/03 Noacat I unevquiocally hate this movie and all those associated with it. 1 stars
8/20/03 james good actors + s. king = FUCKING TERRIBLE 1 stars
6/14/03 Alice This is a real teaser. Pretends to be good in the beginning and then totaly rips you off !! 2 stars
5/27/03 Rocky pretty good 3 stars
5/23/03 Danni Not bad, but final flight of the osiris is better 3 stars
5/23/03 The Lurchprong Splitter The coherent 30% of it is good but too interspersed with the rest. Morgan Freeman wasted. 2 stars
5/03/03 Mopsa I enjoyed myself very much. The boys were all great! 4 stars
4/29/03 scott great 5 stars
4/20/03 Rataro oh my god, does this movie suck 1 stars
4/20/03 scream grear 5 stars
4/17/03 KingNeutron Sucked so bad I walked out after an hour and demanded a refund!! 1 stars
4/12/03 John Bale For Steven King fans, accurate version of book, except for nutbag ending. 4 stars
4/10/03 Jack Bourbon This film is a real fuckaroo. . . which is bad. 2 stars
4/09/03 Mohamad Faisal This is a horrible movie...not! This is an excellent movie...not! You decide... 3 stars
4/08/03 Ponce This is by far the worst movie ever made, & Damian Lewis was absolutely motherfucking awful 1 stars
4/07/03 Jon I always like Morgan Freeman in movies, but he SUCKED in this one. Previews outdid movie =( 2 stars
4/07/03 Marjorie Damian Lewis was great! 5 stars
4/06/03 Duffins Donut somewhere in the middle of these ratings youll find the truth. imo it was too far fetched 2 stars
4/04/03 Ben Hollenbeck Acting, Dialogue, Story, Direction...all over-blown and horrible 1 stars
4/02/03 Elizabeth Hinojosa Too long, and I agree, miscasted. 2 stars
3/31/03 joe this reviewer is an idiot and so are all you awesome and worth a look people...horrible! 1 stars
3/31/03 Earl Dittman, Wireless Magazine Finally...a movie I didn't like! 1 stars
3/31/03 MrChri5 whats wrong with everyone? This is a very good movie but could be better. 4 stars
3/31/03 Jon Not as bad as some think it is, but not masterpiece either... 3 stars
3/30/03 HE grerat 5 stars
3/27/03 Obi Wan What happened? Started great, then flopped and where's the real ending? 3 stars
3/26/03 me Bob Grey: audience members would be too stupid 5 stars
3/25/03 Chicago Wolf Loved the movie especially because I did not read the book 5 stars
3/25/03 Blake great 5 stars
3/24/03 Caiphn Seemed pretty rushed. What a terrible ending. Could have been better. Freeman bad idea. 3 stars
3/24/03 Kefka Too many holes, and it didn't seem realistic (if you know what i mean) 2 stars
3/24/03 Cameron Slick An incoherent overlong creature feature 3 stars
3/23/03 scigamer Even Dreamcatcher can't compete with the god awful Daredevil as the worst this year 1 stars
3/23/03 scigamer Even Dreamcatcher can't compete with the god awful Daredevil as the worst this year 1 stars
3/23/03 JewBoy69 This movie is ass-dribble. Everyone in the theatre was laughing out loud at how bad it was! 1 stars
3/23/03 .Choadushouse. I loved the first hour. It had my mouth open in AWE. But the last hour SUCKED/lacked... 4 stars
3/23/03 Gravy fell apart in the last 30 min., worst ending EVER! Where's the bacon? 2 stars
3/22/03 Vicious Damian Lewis is really good, but the rest is odd without being noteworthy. 3 stars
3/20/03 Eric Holy good god!!! This movie was amazing. I laughed almost the entire time. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  21-Mar-2003 (R)
  DVD: 08-Feb-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  03-Apr-2003 (MA)




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