There’s nothing like a frozen wilderness to inspire fear, we’ve seen it in The Thing, Alien Vs Predator, The Grey. Despite our conquering of other elements, we weren’t meant to survive the tundra. In 2003, a book that helped a writer deal with a car crash was turned into a star-studded tale of psychic powers, camping trips, aliens, while isolated in the snow. All in the surprisingly named Dreamcatcher.
Four friends since childhood plan to attend their annual retreat way up in the Maine wilderness. The group are pretty unique after they saved a disabled child from hateful bullies, they’re given these telepathic powers, that have helped them throughout the years. Upon finding an injured man during their hunting trip, the gang takes him home, he succumbs to his injury and leaves the group a little present. But the group should have been more careful about who they let in back into the cabin. Now they have a crack military team, an empty quarantined patch of hunting ground and a murderous telepathic parasite on their tail. Leaving them all in great danger.
Despite being unashamedly Stephen King (and there’s a smorgasbord of Stephen King tropes Dreamcatcher has). There are elements of Shyamalan in here too, that is understandable with films like The Sixth Sense, making millions a few years prior. Dreamcatcher even has a Shyamalan inspired twist at the end, that is unexpected. The plot feels inspired more by such paranoia invasion films such as The Thing. Elements like the memory palace feel better here than in other depictions, and the scenes that depict the young boys are the charming piece of King’s childhood, that he has appropriated in other works (e.g. It).
The acting is great, from Homeland’s Damian Lewis, who has the hard job of essentially playing two distinct characters. Timothy Olyphant, who touched my heart in the unfortunately cancelled Santa Clarita Diet. Thomas Jane, and Jason Lee both round of the hunting party and unfortunate prey for the parasitic bugs. The military also gets involved, led by Morgan Freeman, who seems more riled up here, despite hiding it behind his trademark calm persona. Even one of the Wahlberg’s, Donnie Wahlberg to be precise has a role of the quartets friend. But aside from the film’s story, being penned by Stephen King, there’s talent behind the scenes with Star Wars Lawrence Kasdan and William Goldman.
While its core does feel like other seminal works by King, you would be cheating yourself if you think that if you’ve experienced one, you don’t need to see Dreamcatcher. It combines the finest cuts of the craft to produce this very enjoyable collage. Big names both in front of the screen and behind, help turn this story into something that will reside in your memory palace for a long time.
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