The boy’s name was Douglas ‘Duddits’ Cavell, and their relationship with him resulted in the development of superhuman powers such as the ability to read minds. Twenty years after they first met Duddits, the four friends—Henry (Thomas Jane), Jonesy (Damian Lewis), Pete (Timothy Olyphant) and Beaver (Jason Lee)—are thinking about him more than ever. Jonesy even has a vision of Duddits, just before he is blindsided by a car. Why was Duddits calling for Jonesy to cross the street only to be hit by a car? This is one of the movie’s intriguing mysteries.
Six months after the accident, the four men decide to take a hunting trip into the woods, only to learn that they have wandered into an alien plot to take over earth. Like Alien, the extraterrestrials in Dreamcatcher impregnate themselves inside the human bodies, this time exiting out of a more natural orifice (this walks a very thin line between thrills and frat house gags). The woods have been quarantined by an unofficial army (MIB?) as a crazed military officer (Morgan Freeman) and his second-in-command (Tom Sizemore) rage an all-out war against the aliens.
As much as it pains me to say it, this movie might have benefited from a little less screen time for Morgan Freeman and his military buddies. The military story was much less intriguing and while choppers were busy eliminating fields of alien beings, I found myself anxious for the film to return to the story of the four friends.
One of the most interesting devices in the movie was the use of Jonesy’s memory warehouse. Kasdan films Jonesy’s memory as a giant building filled wall to wall with files and boxes of memories. The device is used brilliantly when Jonesy’s body is taken over by an evil alien named Mr. Grey. Kasdan shows Jonesy watching the activities of his own body through a window in his memory. This device may have taken some time to get used to, but it was very effective at showing how Jonesy had become a prisoner of his own mind.
I debated whether I should try and read the book before the movie came out or not, and I am glad that I chose not to. I don’t think I would have enjoyed the movie as much if I had already known certain details of the plot, such as the connection between Duddits and the aliens.
I really enjoyed Dreamcatcher. I enjoyed the relationship between the four friends and was clutching my armrest once the thrills got going. I give it a B.