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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Review: Dreamkatcher

Director: Kerry Harris
Screenplay: Kerry Harris and Dan V. Shea
Year: 2020

A father, along with his son and girlfriend, go to a desolated house in the forest to spend a few days away from the noise of the city. While they are in the house, the kid starts experiencing horrifying nightmares related to his deceased mother. Close to the house lives a woman, to whom the kid steals a dreamcatcher from to control his nightmares, but the result ends up being much worse.

“Dreamkatcher” starts, after exposing the difference between dreamcatcher and dreamkatcher, with some background about the tragedy that led to the death of Josh’s mother, where the presented premise is interesting, but the execution keeps the expectations neutral. Then we are forced to watch a long credits scene before presenting the main characters of the movie and start revealing its own issues. Not much time goes by from when we meet the protagonists before the cheap jump scares start showing up that, if you have read any of my previous reviews, is something that makes my expectation for a movie plummet. 

Unluckily, my nightmares about “Dreamkatcher” became a reality. The script of deburring writers Kerry Harris and Dan V. Shea does not have a good structure and it seems like they just want to combine as many horror clichés as possible, leaving us with a convoluted plot that lacks logic. Needless to say, the number of plot holes in the story and dumb decisions by the characters is above what can be tolerated in this sort of movie.

As if the issues in the script were not enough, Kerry Harris, who also debuts as a director, uses all the cheap tricks at his reach to create moments of tension and frightening scenes, but with bad results. The dream sequences, generally overused in the horror genre, in this case, are justified given its premise, but just the same some are added in with no other purpose than to create a precarious situation that has no consequence on the plot 

The acting is an ensemble of lights and shadows and they don’t do much for saving the movie. For most of the movie we follow Josh (Finlay Wojtak-Hissong; “The Banana Splits Movie”) and Gail (Radha Mitchell; “Silent Hill”), her father’s girlfriend, with some limited appearances by the ghost of the deceased mother interpreted by Jules Willcox, the neighbor interpreted by Lin Shaye (“Insidious”; “A Nightmare on Elm Street”; “The Grudge (2020)”) and Josh’s father interpreted by Henry Thomas (“Doctor Sleep”). In general, the cast does a good job but the not convincing acting of Wojtak-Hissong does not meet the demands of his role. 

What “Dreamkatcher” does well is presenting some impressive visuals, mainly in Josh’s dreams. Once the identity of the presence that has latched itself to the dreamcatcher, its design is also well done and effective. However, these feats that it does well end up buried under the number of plot holes that lead to these scenes and make them difficult to enjoy and restrain them from having the effect they should.

“Dreamkatcher” combines as many horror clichés as it can on a script that lacks a coherent development because of the many plot holes that plague it. The little things it does well, as with some acting and horrific visuals, are not enough to overpower the many flaws it has on its plot, as well as on its presentation. Not even its great cast prevents that this all ends up being a frustrating experience. 

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