The movie Dreamcatcher can best be described as a tale of two movies: the first half and the second half. The first half sets up what appears as a great alien film in the tradition of John Carpenter’s classic The Thing. The second half is a lame CGI monster flick with stupid sequences and the most anti-climatic disappointing ending I’ve witnessed in several years.
We are introduced to four childhood friends who all display the same E.S.P.-type abilities. They go to a cabin in the woods and find themselves stuck right in the middle of a bad Steven King story. The characters are mildly interesting, with Jason Lee being the best of the group. At this point in the film, you are building up anticipation and just waiting for something exciting/terrifying to take hold of your emotions. It’s like going up the steep hill on a roller coaster anxiously awaiting the first drop. But the film doesn’t drop you straight down into a horrific experience; it just levels out and begins to take you though a series of scenes that you’ve seen already in several other films. There is nothing unique to this film, and it’s just a plain old hokey alien invasion-type flick.
It’s your usual Steven King plot. A bunch of close friends from Maine who set up the back-story through a series of “flashback” experiences and stories just like Stand by Me and IT. They stand up to the bullies and rescue the retarded child from their abuse, much like the “losers gang” saving Mike Hanlon from Henry Bowers in IT. They befriend the retarded boy and he rewards them with “special powers”.
We are now introduced to a man found wandering in the woods with the alien growing inside his stomach like the movie Alien. Only this alien doesn’t bust out his stomach, but rather cause the man to fart like crazy for a few hours before hatching from the man’s ass. Jason Lee decides it’s more important to reach for a toothpick than keep the unknown killer “whatever” trapped, and then promptly gets wasted. The alien possesses Jonsey and we are treated to a very early view of the alien being. They didn’t waste any time building up future anticipation of what it might look like, they just throw it right in your face and say, look at me, I’m a crappy CGI slug with teeth. This is exactly why I hate CGI in horror films. If it looks like CGI, and is totally unbelievable looking, it takes you right out of the story.
Morgan Freeman is introduced, as the military leader who is in charge of covering up and eliminating all alien invasion evidence, much like the Men in Black. I love Morgan Freeman as an actor, but whatever possessed him to take this role is beyond me. It is definitely a movie to leave off his resume. The dialogue was campy, the scenes were unbelievable, and it had little to so with the major plot of the film. The subplot involved Freeman beginning to lose his mind over the years of battling the aliens and becoming a loose cannon. He wants to kill innocent people and must be stopped by his future replacement, Tom Sizemore. They could have easily eliminated the ‘crazy’ subplot, and just kept the characters legit.
The alien who takes over Jonesy takes on some bizarre English accent. A few scenes take place in the Jonesy’s mind, where everything he knows is kept in files and boxes in the library storage area. The alien invasion is never really explained perfectly. Who is Mr Gray, where does he come from, why does he want to take over Earth, where did Doddits come from, how did he predict the entire event, etc. They try and say all it takes is one CGI slug to take over the earth, they why didn’t they crash their UFO into a water treatment facility or other place where the water will allow the disease to spread. The ending couldn’t be anymore anti-climatic if it tried. You sit there for 3 hours, and the film’s climax is between two CGI blobsslugs for 10 seconds.
This movie is worth watching only if your just looking for some time to kill. It’s not original, the script has more holes than a championship golf course, the ending sucks, and the CGI is extremely fake looking. As far as horror movies go, it’s not that bad. But when you take an all-star cast, a renowned horror author, and a big budget Hollywood production, and this is the best they can create, it’s a major disappointment. 4 out of 10 skulls.