STEPHEN KING’S DREAMCATCHER. (2003) BASED ON THE BOOK BY STEPHEN KING. DIRECTED BY LAWRENCE KASDAN. STARRING MORGAN FREEMAN, THOMAS JANE, JASON LEE, DAMIAN LEWIS, TIMOTHY OLYPHANT, TOM SIZEMORE AND DONNIE WAHLBERG. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
I really want to make one thing clear before we start. I love Stephen King and I love his books and his phenomenal output. I personally think he’s the best thing that ever happened to the horror genre. Certainly he made it mainstream, the way E.L. James’s FIFTY SHADES OF GREY trilogy made it okay to say publicly that you like spanking, bondage and other examples of ‘kinky fuckery.’ (I’m not comparing the two, by the way, so don’t start!)
I’ve loved many film versions of his books, too. Some of the truly fantastic film versions include (for me, anyway) THE SHINING, MISERY, CARRIE, THE MIST, THE LANGOLIERS, MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE, CHRISTINE, IT, SALEM’S LOT, BAG OF BONES and DOLORES CLAIBORNE. You guys can probably think of a few more.
There were one or two movie adaptations of the great man’s books that weren’t as good as the books themselves. THE DARK HALF is one that comes to mind. Now, unavoidably, it’s time to bring in DREAMCATCHER. Not only is it the worst film adaptation of a Stephen King book that I’ve ever seen, but I think it’s actually one of the worst films, full-stop.
I hate saying things like this about anything with Stephen King’s, my hero’s, name on it but that’s how bad it is. I can only hope that some of his fans who might be reading this have seen the film and might agree with me. That’s certainly how I’m hoping to avoid a public lynching anyway, haha.
One minute it’s a film about four guys who’ve been friends since their boyhood days in Derry, Maine, like in IT or something. Stephen King writes really well about this kind of thing, especially if the men all share a common secret dating from their mis-spent youth.
This time it’s not so much a secret as a good deed they did for a younger boy who was being picked on by bullies. In return, this special young man gave his rescuers the gift of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial- style finger-pointing. Well, that and one other thing.
Next minute, the men are all in a cabin in the woods and some weird stuff starts happening. Weird and disgusting. The farting and belching is stomach-turning, and was there really any need to show that dying man’s naked backside covered in excrement and ‘the Ripley,’ as it’s called? That was just plain nasty. I know that Stephen King's a boy and boys like poo-poo and wee-wee and suchlike, but still. There are limits, people.
The scene in the bathroom with Jason MY NAME IS EARL Lee and the toothpicks on the scum-covered ground made me want to hurl, seriously. Add to that the occupant of their jacks and you’ve got yourself a real slime-fest. I wasn’t sorry about what happened to Leave It To Beaver, either. Anyone who says the words ‘fuckaroo’ and ‘fuckarow’ in all seriousness has got it coming to them.
Next minute, we’ve got Morgan Freeman and a couple of his cronies zapping aliens. Not much explanation is given. It’s a bit like we’re watching two separate films, one of which is just plain terrible and even boring (the Morgan Freeman bits) and the other… Well, I know this is meant to be a horror film but it’s still pretty disgusting. The creatures themselves are amazing, if stomach-churning, so ‘props,’ as they say, to the creature-creators. I refuse point-blank to discuss their eggs…
Evil Jonesy talking in a bad English accent did not do it for me at all. Regular Jonesy trapped in an actual storehouse was interesting, seeing as the film-makers were using the storehouse as a metaphor for the inside of Jonesy’s mind. The woodland creatures passing by the cabin in the snow, everything from deer to raccoons to actual bears, were the only things in the film that could be called beautiful.
I was seriously disturbed to see the character of Duddits, an intellectually-challenged man who’s dying of leukaemia and who in the words of his mother is ‘devastated by the cold,’ being dragged out into the snow to save the world from the aliens. With blood and snot running from his frozen nose. With his Scooby-Doo lunchbox clutched in his poor mittened hands. This made for awful viewing.
It was never really explained in the film either just how or why Duddits had the power to do what he did. And if he’s psychic, then in what way is he the Dreamcatcher? Needless to say, the books always do a better job of explaining things so do please turn to the print version if you need further clarification, as they say. You’ll get no answers from the movie…!
Anyway, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever watch this film again, not even to show a friend how bad it is, something I’ve often enjoyed doing in the past, haha. See…? It’s too bad even for that. Anyone who thinks I’m as wrong as can be is welcome to engage in a frank and open discussion with me on the subject. But I won’t be changing my mind, and that’s final.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can contact her at: