What goes in must come out
Stephen King has become a huge fan of the television miniseries, presumably because Hollywood sometimes struggles with keeping his gigantic novels within the confines of a single movie. He’s often complained about movie directors jettisoning too many of his ideas to cram his epics into the two-hour movie format.
King has also famously complained about the great Stanley Kubrick, who put his own spin on King’s The Shining, creating, perhaps, the best movie of a King novel despite the author’s whining. The Shining would later go on to be made as an OK but over-baked miniseries, much to King’s liking.
Too bad director Lawrence Kasdan (The Big Chill) didn’t pull a Kubrick on the alien invasion flick Dreamcatcher, because this one could’ve withstood some idea trimming. Overlong, gimmicky and ultimately ridiculous, the film is an ugly stew of many past King clichés, all piled mercilessly into one lousy movie.
The film owes much to past King novels: It has a kiddy element similar to that of Stand By Me, a psychic-ESP element similar to that of Dead Zone and The Tommyknockers, the-grown-friends-against-the-big monster-element of It and the frozen tundra of The Shining and Misery. There’s so much junk thrown into this movie that it practically bursts at the seams.
Four childhood friends reunite at a cabin in the snowy woods, and evil in the form of an alien invasion comes to wreak havoc after the characters have their requisite conversations and reminiscences. The crew includes Thomas Jane, Damian Lewis, Timothy Olyphant and Jason Lee (who, for Christ sakes, is nicknamed “The Beaver").
When a large man with severe gastrointestinal distress shows up, complete with signs of an infection on his face and a stomach that’s moving, the men put the guy to bed and run outside for fresh air. If I met a guy with a moving stomach, my ass would be headed for another continent. These guys just giggle and step out for a breather.
Turns out that their farting visitor is infected with an alien organism, a nasty wormlike bugger that shoots out of his unsuspecting asshole when he goes to take a dump. Yep, after all these years of anal probes in alien movies, someone has chosen to use the old butt hole as an exit instead of an entry for horror effects. This will perhaps cause some disturbance for those willing to sit through the film, especially when it comes time to visit the bathroom afterwards. Needless to say, expect to have some major psychosomatic pains in your ass.
Admittedly, the whole butt-bursting alien thing is disgusting, but rather daring and funny as far as horror films go. Had the film settled for being some sort of “Butt Monsters Chase a Few Sorry Punks Through the Snow” alien flick, it could’ve been a sick blast. Instead, a mound of garbage subplots—too many to list in one review—messes up to the movie to the point of incomprehensibly.
Thrown into the mix is the normally reliable Morgan Freeman as a government alien hunter. He’s had just about enough of these butt-mangling monsters, and has hatched a rather selfish and unquestionably rude plan to start killing everybody in sight. On top of a rather terrible, eccentric performance, Freeman is fitted with a set of fake, white bushy eyebrows that make it look like two elderly caterpillars settled on his forehead and crapped those big glorious dots on his face.
If you have been the recent sufferer of hemorrhoid inconveniences, I advise you to skip Dreamcatcher. For that matter, if you have no patience for intolerable crap, avoid the film, even if you do boast a penchant for King and a healthy ass.