- Movie Rating -

Dreamscape (1984)

| August 15, 1984

Okay, so here’s a clever idea, a movie about people who can enter the dreams of other people and help them deal with their deepest fears.  A lot can be done with this idea, and a lot is done on a visual effects level.  The nightmare dreamscape of this movie really does look like the interiors of someone’s mind.  Too bad the movie is so hell-bent on being mean-spirited and violent that it loses the possibilities that could have made it fun.

Dennis Quaid stars as Alex Gardner, a gifted psychic who is summoned an old friend Dr. Paul Novotny (Max Von Sydow) to look into a secret government program that can allow a person to tap into another person’s dreams.  Along with a research assistant Jane DeVries (Kate Capshaw), Alex encounters a plot by a rival named Tommy and a government official named Bob Blair (Christopher Plummer) that could involve murdering the President of the United States (Eddie Albert).

The concept here is very good.  I was interested in the premise even though it sounds ridiculous, but the movie never does all it can with this idea and what it does is create a tone that is unpleasant and creepy.  Of course, that’s the temperature of entering someone’s dreams but the film adopts a tone that is so ugly and merciless that I walked away feeling lousy.  This is a clever concept that is turned into a movie that is kind of trashy.

One final note: This movie is extremely violent, unnecessarily so.  I’m not a prude, I don’t mind a lot of heavy violence but this movie seemed to exceed what I think was necessary for a commercial movie.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.