Cast: Dennis Quaid, Max von Sydow, Christopher Plummer, Kate Capshaw, and David Patrick Kelly
Director: Joseph Ruben
99 minutes (15) 1984
Widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Second Sight blu-ray region B
Review by Octavio Ramos Jr
Directed by Joseph Ruben (The Pom-Pom Girls and Money Train), Dreamscape stars Dennis Quaid as Alex Gardner, a young man who uses his psychic abilities to make money. Rather than help make a local hood rich, Alex agrees to work with his mentor Dr Paul Novotny (Max von Sydow) on a research project in which ESPers can ‘dream-link’ into the minds of troubled individuals. The goal is to determine the power of dreams and nightmares, and subsequently remedy deep psychological problems that manifest most clearly in the world of the subconscious.
While Novotny, Alex, and psychologist and love interest Jane (Kate Capshaw), address problems such as a husband’s impotence in a comedy relief sequence, and a child’s ‘Snakeman’ nightmare in a horror sequence, the US President (Eddie Albert) is plagued by nightmares that he will someday destroy the world through the use of nuclear weapons. To help these dreams come true, bad guy Bob Blair (Christopher Plummer) recruits Tommy Ray Glatman (David Patrick Kelly), also a talented ESPer but one with homicidal tendencies.
The movie’s climax takes place within the President’s dream world, with Tommy Ray using martial arts - which Alex manages to defeat with a single blow (very unlikely!), and assuming the Snakeman’s form in an attempt to kill the president in his dream. Alex responds with a psychological secret of his own and, in the end, manages to kill Tommy Ray in his sleep, rescue the President, and save the world. Dreamscape was the prototype film of its kind, setting the trend for films such as A Nightmare On Elm Street and The Cell. For its time the special effects are solid if not a bit cheesy, and the performances are either over-the-top (Quaid) or wooden (Capshaw). The story itself is compelling and the screenplay adequate, and although some of the sequences are exciting, when combined the pieces feel disjointed and weak.
Restored with 2K scan for this hi-def release.
- The Actor's Journey interview with Dennis Quaid
- Dreamscapes And Dreammakers - retrospective including interviews with Ruben,co-writer David Loughery, actor David Patrick Kelly, and members of the special effects dept.
- Nightmares And Dreamsnakes - looks back at the Snakeman with Craig Reardon, David Patrick Kelly, and others
- In-depth conversation between producer Bruce Cohn Curtis and co-writer/ producer Chuck Russell
- Commentary track with Bruce Cohn Curtis, David Loughery, and Craig Reardon
- Snakeman test footage
- Stills gallery