Friday, June 17 - Saturday, June 18, 2016
“DREAMCATCHER is one of the more consistently entertaining Stephen King adaptations, a sprawling, big-budget epic that lurches from a creepy supernatural thriller to a campy, fart-joke-studded, aliens-on-the-loose extravaganza. Veteran writer-director Lawrence Kasdan – better known for low-key humanist comedies like The Big Chill – gleefully returns to the pulp-movie roots of his youth, which included collaborating on the scripts for Raiders of the Lost Ark and the first two Star Wars movies.
The labyrinthine DREAMCATCHER script, which Kasdan and William Goldman carved from King’s 600-page novel, manages to evoke King’s Stand By Me, The Shining, and The Stand, as well as elements of E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Dr. Strangelove, and too many more to mention. Yet the movie has a distinct personality of its own – a split personality, actually.
It starts out as a genuinely shuddery tale of four Boston twentysomethings whose annual get-together at a cabin in a remote, wooded area of Maine turns out to be highly lethal. We slowly learn in a series of flashbacks that the guys – Henry (Thomas Jane), a psychiatrist; Beaver (Jason Lee), an wisecracking carpenter; Pete (Timothy Olyphant), a womanizing car dealer; and Jonesy (Damian Lewis), a troubled college professor – have formed a kind of a psychic friends network. Their telepathic powers were conferred a decade earlier when they rescued a mysterious retarded boy they called Duddits – who appears in a vision just before Jonesy is hit by a speeding car in a near-fatal accident.
Things quickly go bad in the woods. Two of the guys wreck their vehicle in a storm, while the others have to play reluctant host to a hunter with a deep red stain on his neck and an uncontrollable urge for a bowel movement that will unleash a murderous, slimy, shape-shifting razor-toothed weasel.
After a truly mesmerizing special-effects shot of animals fleeing en masse, helicopters swoop in and announce the area is being “quarantined” because aliens are spreading an “infection” through those red marks. Enter Col. Curtis (Morgan Freeman), who commands an elite military force that’s been tracking down and exterminating extraterrestrials for 25 years. He’s quite mad, and he’s taking no prisoners, not even hundreds of imprisoned locals who might recover from the infection.“Those poor suckers!” Curtis barks. “They drive Chevrolets, they shop at Wal-Mart and they never miss an episode of ‘Friends.’ If we start [executing] them at 2, we can be done by 2:30!” Meanwhile, Jonesy’s body has been taken over by one of the extraterrestrials and Henry has enlisted the now-adult Duddits (Donnie Wahlberg) to “go out and save the world.”
Kasdan obviously has his tongue firmly in his cheek, but he elicits excellent performances – and with cinematographer John Seale, he creates some truly arresting images, accompanied by James Newton Howard’s chilling score.” -Lou Lumenick, The New York Post
Part of the series “Stephen King on Film”