Look at that poster. What the hell were they thinking?
When did Dreamscape become Temple Of Doom? I know Kate Capshaw's in this movie but honestly, that's not enough to justify making a full-on Indiana Jones poster for a film which mostly sees people talking rubbish in rooms and labs, with the occasional wacky dream sequence. Besides, the little kid on the left: SO not a main character. The poster makes it seem like he's Short Round or something. Honestly, if you've seen the movie, this poster's hilarious.
Dreamscape stars Dennis Quaid as a dude with some kind of telepathic/telekinetic ability who is hired by Max Von Sydow's scientist to be part of an experiment which involves entering dreams and controlling them somehow. A villainous Christopher Plummer learns that the US President is having these strange nightmares and decides, with the old man's permission of course, to send someone in his mind to sort it out. Of course, Plummer's more interested in killing him with no tangible proof that he was at all involved: the perfect murder. Although... if the guy's really as powerful as the movie claims he is, couldn't he just straight-up kill the President? I mean he's got the police in his pocket, not to mention an army of professional killers on hand and direct access to old Leslie Nielsen since he works for him and all...
Just sayin', I doubt that DREAMS are the only option this guy has.
People treat nightmares in this movie like they're brain tumours, it's weird.
But not as weird as Snakeman!
That's right: Snakeman.
Turns out Dreamscape's aaaaaall about the Snakeman.
While inside a little kid's dream, Quaid has to fight off some big stop-motion/puppet snake monster which the kid himself actually destroys in the end. Somehow though, every dream after that, no matter who the dreamer is, has a Snakeman in it. Is the Snakeman the equivalent of Marion Cotillard in Inception? Dennis Quaid just takes it with him every time he enters a dream? If so, how come when he dream-rapes Kate Capshaw it doesn't just pop up and bite his pecker off? This movie makes NO sense! You've got Norm from Cheers as the award-winning writer of popular horror thriller "Stab" whom we meet in a bar (big shocker), pops up in another scene then dies. You've got David Patrick Kelly as some kind of dream-killer, a character we never really understand as he's never fully developed. And about a zillion plot-holes not to mention one of the most underwhelming use of a dream plot out there. This came out the same year as Nightmare On Elm Street for crying out loud, come on!
Stop ripping off Altered States, you're not talented enough! Freddy's right up your alley.
It's a shame because you've got Christopher Plummer and Max Von Sydow, both as great as ever, you've got everything you need to make a decent Scanners-style sci-fi thriller but sadly, with the exception of a couple of so-so/ok dream sequences, Dreamscape fails on all accounts. The below-par script underexplains every plot thread, underdevelops every character, attempts comedy but comes off as creepy and gives the actors very little to work with. The direction is bland, dull and lifeless making some scenes completely snoozeworthy. The only thing the film has going for is it's occasional bursts of creative cinematography but you just wish it had gone full Lawnmower Man instead of limiting itself to... Snakeman.
Overall, Dreamscape goes for a specific genre but falls completely short of what it's trying to achieve. Not edgy enough, not funny enough, not entertaining enough, not original enough... not good enough. Give it a watch if you must but I can't guarantee you'll remember it the next day.
Gotta love that poster, though!