Starring: Morgan Freeman, Thomas Jane, Jason Lee, Damian Lewis, Timothy Olyphant, and Tom Sizemore
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Rating: Five of Ten Stars
"Dreamcatcher" is the story of four friends who, in childhood, devopled a psychic bond after befriending a retarded boy. That bond has kept them together into adulthood, and on their 20th annual retreat to a remote cabin of drinking, hunting, and male bonding, a horrific terror from another world tests both their friendship and psychic abilities.
Although very intense at times--there is a scene that flips swiftly from bathroom humor to bathroom horror, and it is definately one of the scariest bits of film ever made--the movie suffers greatly from the fact that the viewers never really feel a connection with the four friends at the heart of the tale. They are good, brave people, but beyond that there isn't much of an opportunity to get to know and care about them. Therefore, when they die (and I don't think I'm spoiling anything but mentioning that several of the friends don't make it back to civilization alive, given that this is a horror movie), there is no real emotional response from viewers.
If the director or screenwriter had found a way to make us feel the bond between the friends, this could have been one scary movie, because the monster is darn scary and Morgan Freeman does an excellent job as a villainous military officer--even if anyone who actually knows American military men, they'l be shaking their heads at this character and the whole portrayal of a military operation in the film. But it's the lack of viewers properly feeling the bond between the heroes that is the film's fatal flaw, one that certainly generated by the filmmakers, because one of Stephen King's strengths when writing about life-long friends facing danger and death together, he is always very adept at making us feel almost as though we are part of their fellowship as the story unfolds.
And that's too bad, because without us feeling the connection between the main characters and sharing their pain as they watch their friends die, "Dreamcatcher" never rises above the level of a bad slasher-film merged with a mediocre science fiction monster movie.