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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 Erik Childress

"Glorious Insanity of King Redux Sustains Only in the Theater"
3 stars

“Doesn’t Stephen King write about the same thing over and over again?” So says Albert Brooks as the sci-fi novelist in Mother, and in the later years of the world’s most renowed horror scribe it is the literal truth. Writing a book for him over the last decade must be like playing a game of Clue with his own mind. I’ll take Stand By Me with an alien in the snow. Dreamcatcher is then like Mega-Clue as the rules keep changing with such a glorious insanity that you can’t help but admire its audacity. Yet once its time runs out and the brain starts thinking again, you’ll realize that even the kitchen sink isn’t enough sometimes.

For months I have been singing the praises of the Dreamcatcher marketing team for implementing one of the best ad campaigns I have seen in years. In the days when all you need to do is see the trailer to know how a film ends, Dreamcatcher used brief clips and mystery to barely tell you how it begins. Having not read the book, the excitement of the unknown carried along with me into the theater and through the solid first 40 minutes. When it was all over, I couldn’t acknowledge whether that credit was valid as it may just have been they didn’t know how to market it.

Those initial 40 minutes are a hook though. Henry (Thomas Jane), “Beaver” (Jason Lee), Pete (Timothy Olyphant) and “Jonesy” (Damian Lewis) are childhood friends who meet annually at their cabin in the woods. In their younger days they befriended a retarded boy named Duddits and were rewarded with a mysterious psychic ability, all used to varying degrees by the now-adults. When a lost hunter is given solace by the guys, little do they know he carries a mysterious infection that’s about to spread into something far more sinister. Notice the frequent use of the word mysterious, one which will quickly trail off since once the twists start spinning out of control, everyone stops questioning events and begins accepting them at face value.

I hesitate to venture further into those events as everyone deserves the experience that the previews have set up for them. Suffice it to say that once the alien presence reveals itself in all its glory, there are only so many places for the film to go. And believe me, it goes to all of them. A rogue military unit, not unlike King’s “The Shop” is on hand to create its own “dreamcatcher” of the surrounding area, or in this case, keep the evil from escaping rather than penetrating through. Morgan Freeman’s Col. Kurtz (the reference to Brando’s insane leader from Apocalypse Now is not an accident) and his right-hand man, Capt. Owen Underhill (Tom Sizemore) provide an anti-climactic distraction from the story we really want to follow – the four guys.

From those who have read the book, the adaptation is apparently as faithful as they come. But is that a good thing? The military subplot clearly needed a good fleshing. Freeman’s Kurtz switches from scene-to-scene from a cold leader looking to do the unthinkable to protect his country to “insane from hunting aliens for 25 years” back to regretful compassionate. Same goes for Sizemore’s Owen who is just looking for an excuse to defy his commander, but when the opportunity comes never looks for any help within his unit. The literal translations of Jonesy’s “mental warehouse” and Henry’s “phonegun” (for another Brooks quote – “he picked up the pie, called his mother”) may draw the kind of snickers with extra nuts. And that’s all before the finale.

If you aren’t on board with the encapsulating madness of Dreamcatcher, then you might as well leave before the finale because it sets up camp in the village of “ohcomeon”. Between the deus ex machina and abruptness of its ending, even those quite enjoying it may be looking at their neighbor with raised eyebrows and smacking their heads. I was smiling and chuckling, but the drove home afterwards didn’t prove kind to everything I just saw. The special effects were terrific, that bathroom sequence was classic and I love the idea of an alien form thinking it’s a British Bond villain (credit Band of Brothers’ Damian Lewis with his performance.) Director Lawrence Kasdan kept springing surprises but it stops providing scares and ultimately just doesn’t add up to much more than goofiness.

I don’t know what King has against the private parts, but you won’t be headed to the bathroom with any enthusiasm after seeing this flick. Leave it to him to take the funny out of farts. “If you gotta fart, go outside.” OK, that’s another line from an Albert Brooks film, but if King can keep copying himself, then I can keep going to the Brooks well. Between young boys and bullies (Stand By Me), a friends reunion to battle evil (It!), alien possession (The Tommyknockers), encompassing moss (Creepshow) and a spreading virus (The Stand), what in Dreamcatcher is actually original? Credit everyone’s confidence in the material to do it all with a straight face. There’s something to be said for that when you’ve got aliens crawling out of your ass.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=7336&reviewer=198
originally posted: 03/21/03 12:09:57
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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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