Tuesday, September 13, 2016


   Okay so, like, this movie is real apparently. I'm still kind of in shock after watching it. It's like an M. Night Shayamalan movie... but... not. Because his bad movies are just... bad. Dreamcatcher certainly isn't good either, but it's so frickin' entertaining. Like, wow. It's based on a Stephen King book, which I've never read, just putting that out there. I know some fans of the book were pissed about the movie, but really... is that news or something? Fans of books will always be pissed at the movie adaptations. My opinion is of that of a moviegoer, nothing more, nothing less.

   The movie is about four friends (Tom Jane, Timothy Olyphant, Jason Lee, and some redhead guy I don't know) with non-specific psychic powers who all decided to go to this cabin in the woods where they always go or something, and strange crap starts happening. And I mean that all too literally unfortunately. The movie is also juxtaposed with these flashback scenes which seem to be leading up to a(n ultimately predictable) reveal about how they got their powers. Okay, fine, I'm with you so far. But, then! Freakish parasites that explode out of peoples' butts? Rust-fungus that covers everything? Large grey Aliens that can turn into a cloud of toxic dust and mind control people? Hooooly geez. Pick one and stick with it!

   Their alien is part... well... Alien, part War of the Worlds and part Invasion of the Body Snatchers! Not once are we ever really sure how all three parts work together, but if you think that's gonna be the most confusing thing, hold on to your butt, we're not even close to being done. Things get weirder as one of the friends gets... like, possessed by the alien (who inexplicably has a British accent), but because he (spoilers from this point on, just saying) once technically died after getting hit by a car, he's immune to being fully controlled?  OKAY. So, ha, then... we can also kinda see things from his mind's point of view? He has a memory storage in his head, which is visualized like some sort of massive mnemonic library. This bit is actually really neat.

   Oh man, I'm losing track of everything. At one point Morgan Freeman and Tom Sizemore show up, and the movie just gets even crazier. They're military dudes, but they're like... not regular army or anything. They're kind of like a government sanctioned anti-alien squad and Freeman is their crazy leader? His character chews so much scenery, and uses so many nonsense words, that I expected him to choke, or burst out laughing, and honestly...? Either would've been totally in-character. He's that nuts in this movie. I'm not even sure it's a good thing. Imagine how crazy he'd have to be that Tom Sizemore had to play a normal sort of guy next to him.

   Anyways, if you can, imagine the radical tonal shifts the movie has gone through so far. Moody mystery with a Stand By Me backdrop, cabin-in-the-woods horror/thriller with a sci-fi twist, to full blown gung-ho military Nuke em all! craziness. My head was spinning by the hour mark. The movie is also pretty gory, slimy, and gross, which helps- but it also makes the movie impossible to take seriously. An actual plot point of the movie is that people with the alien parasite in them, burp and fart a lot, and it smells really bad. Hah! Who wrote that into the screenplay? Who thought that was a great idea? The movie would be better off if it didn't expect us to take it seriously. We might've had something approaching Slither at that point, but it plays everything straight-faced and it's hilariously entertaining.

   The movie is absolutely insane, and not always in a good way, but always in an entertaining way. That's a very important distinction to make. As someone who loves ridiculous B-movies for fast, lurid, cheap, gory, slimy thrills, I was able to appreciate those elements in Dreamcatcher, and they were all the richer for having landed smack in the middle of what was almost a respectable atmospheric thriller. The movie itself descends into anarchy as the insanity and tonal-clashes mounts. Things happen sometimes entirely out of the blue, plot holes abound, and other things were so heavily foreshadowed you're kinda stunned the movie still played it like a twist. At one point, Olyphant's character sits down and drunkenly lays out a dream of his that IS THE EXACT PLOT OF THE WHOLE MOVIE. HAH, WHAT? I'm dead serious.

   This movie is a real thing and I can't believe it. It's so wild, so random, so crazy, and none of it gels. It's like the B-movie bastard of Signs and War of the Worlds, but made with a proper Hollywood budget and cast. The whole thing is so mercilessly odd that I can't wrap my head around it. It was incredibly fun, and not even a so-bad-it's-good kinda thing, but just genuinely fun. Still, that doesn't mean it's good either. Genre mashups are nothing new, and tonal shifts aren't either, but this movie doesn't pull off either thing gracefully. But, it's so absurd in it's craziness that you can't help but be entertained. If this was a movie from the 80's, it would be a fantastic cult classic, celebrated for it's icky craziness. But given that it's merely a flop from 2003, nobody's ever going to give a shit, and that... kinda makes me sad.

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