Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Writers: William Goldman
Starring: Thomas Jane, Jason Lee, Damian Lewis, Timothy Olyphant
(Minor Spoilers Ahead)
While I haven’t been writing daily for Halloween Nights, I have been watching almost daily. Dreamcatcher has always been a movie I enjoyed; but it had been a while since I’ve given it a watch. Truth be told, prior to this rewatch, the only thing I remembered was that it was based on a Stephen King novel, Jason Lee was in it, the alien worm in the toilet, and Duddits. During this rewatch, I can say that Dreamcatcher was mostly everything I remembered it to be—but boy, did that third act catch me off guard.
A CABIN IN THE WOODS
When I first watched The Thing last year, I mentioned to someone that I see how that movie influenced so many others. The movie I first thought of after watching the classic was Dreamcatcher—a group of people who are secluded have to deal with a strange creature. Rewatching the movie, I see less ties to The Thing than I did this time last year; but Dreamcatcher does feel influenced by the classic—as well as other films from the genre.
It’s almost a joke how many horror movies are about “friends go to a cabin in the woods”, but for me, this is one of the ones that does it right. It sets up some mythology via flashbacks early on and, when it needs to, cuts back to that device to help flesh the story out. It’s not long before we get our main characters—Henry, Jonesy, Pete, and Beaver—to the cabin as adults.
The first two acts of the movie prove to be fairly standard when it comes to horror movies. The group ends up being split apart, Jonesy rescues someone who is “ill”, and chaos ensues. And while it’s not impossible to successfully blend horror and sci-fi (which the first two acts actually do well), the third act leans more towards sci-fi and less towards horror. Honestly, the movie doesn’t necessarily suffer from this, but it was a surprise based on what I thought I had previously watched.
The most interesting concept this film plays with is Jonesy’s “memory warehouse”. I would have liked to seen that idea explored more as I don’t know that it’s fleshed out enough in the film to truly understand the point of it. It mainly seems like a device to help keep the human part of Jonesy when he is possessed, but we do see it used prior too. Is this something just Jonesy has? Just the group of friends (including Duddits)? Or everyone?
While I remember enjoying the film more the last time I watched, I still did enjoy it. The third act threw me for a loop, but I still enjoyed the overall story. The film is filled with amazing actors who I think also give great performances—particularly Damien Lewis’ Jonesy / Mr. Gray. Almost everyone I know can’t stand this movie and I still don’t know why—it’s VERY watchable and deserves way more love than it actually gets.
Dreamcatcher is currently available on Netflix and on Amazon.