Published Jan 01, 2006If a brain battering cocktail of toxic special effects is your poison, then a ticket to Dreamcatcher is very good value. Directed by Lawrence Kasden, and based on the novel by Stephen King, this psychological sci-fi action thriller buddy flick has a plot fuller of holes than the gossamer artifact that is the title's inspiration.
The austere and eerie winter terrain swirling around the opening credits prickles our awareness of nature's latent danger (this is the good part), before the introductions to four long-time friends who share a sixth sense, and who have learned what a mixed blessing that is. For years they have neglected their childhood protégé, Duddits, who begins to appear to them in strange ways, provoking a near-fatal traffic accident for one of them. After his recovery, they gather at a cabin in the woods where they have been bonding for years. During a sudden snowstorm they witness a mass exodus of particularly slow moving wildlife and rescue a lost man with an extremely unorthodox case of indigestion.
While army helicopters fly overhead, we learn the area is quarantined due to a scourge of aliens that have more variations than herpes. The special effects team pulls out all the stops, and there are some adrenalin-inducing moments, as toothy leeches on speed messily chew their way through the population, and much, much more. Workaday actors do their job so perfunctorily in Dreamcatcher that I imagine them off set shrugging, as though to say, "Cancer research, it ain't." So I'll cite only Ingrid Kavelaars, as a smart woman who does not date one of the heroes, and also the part of Duddits' mother, who by the virtue alone of their being female are the true aliens in this movie, and the only ones with any real connection to earth or any other planet. (Warner)