Long-time friendships usually endure a country road of ups and downs. Dreamcatcher, a science fiction/horror/fantasy film, opens with a plausible and quite engaging story about four young friends (Jonesy, Henry, Pete and Beaver) who perform a good deed by saving a young boy (Duddits) from the cruel pranks of teens.
However, Duddits (Donnie Wahlberg) is not exactly what he seems. Grateful to his young heroes, he rewards them with supernatural powers. As they grow to adulthood, the men have stayed in close contact because no one else would understand the powers they have – powers that sometimes grace them and other times curse them.
As a psychiatrist, Henry (Thomas Jane) may be able to figure out other people, but he doesn’t understand why he wants to kill himself. Beaver (Jason Lee) has precognitive powers he doesn’t know how to handle. Damian Lewis plays Jonesy, a character who gets hit by a car, then comes back to life. (Jonesy was inspired by author Stephen King’s own similar accident.) Pete (Timothy Olyphant) has an uncanny ability to find lost things merely by twirling a finger.
About one-third into the movie, it takes a nosedive. Think The Alien meets The Shining. While the guys are on their yearly outing to a cabin in the mountains, bizarre events begin to happen. A man with an abnormal rumbling stomach shows up on their doorstep. All the animals, each marked with a red blotch, suddenly stream past the cabin in a fast exit from the forest. Military choppers fly over the area and announce on bullhorns that everything will return to normal in a few days.
Before long there are gory eel-like looking creatures with enormous teeth chewing on everything and leaving a wake of blood in their paths. Up to the challenge of extinguishing these demons is Abraham Curtis (Morgan Freeman), alien hunter and commander of an elite military force called the Blue Unit. As people scuffle with the beasts, they must also wrestle with their own inner conflicts, and both aspects of the fight seem connected somehow to Duddits.
Performances are fine, special effects good but trite, and there are the typical jump and scream scenes. Too bad a troubling question kept intruding into my enjoyment of the film: "What kind of childhood did Stephen King have?"
For the most part – you may never want to use the bathroom again. Sorry, but I won’t spoil your fun by revealing why.
(Released by Warner Bros. and rated "R" for violence, gore and language.)