In Dreamkatcher we learn two things that we were already painfully aware of. Lin Shaye is required to appear in as many horror movies as she can grace, and being a stepparent is a thankless, nearly impossible job. For Gail (Radha Mitchell), the latter lesson is the lesson she must learn as her boyfriend Luke (Henry Thomas) leaves her in charge of his son Josh (Finlay Wojtak-Hissong) at the family cabin in the country with strange supernatural happenings afoot. Don’t think you have seen this one before as Dreamkatcher is actually a pretty darn good horror film with enough originality to keep its head above water.
The film starts with Gail riding to the place in the country with boyfriend Luke and his son. Things are icy on the ride up as Josh’s mother died in an accident and Gail is seen as the replacement. Sooner than you can say “convenient plot device,” Luke gets called back to the office for changes on a project but Gail assures him she is up to the task of winning Josh over. The two go for a walk and meet Ruth (Lin Shaye), a seller of various handmade bits of mysticism, at her bucolic barn of a storefront. Ruth realizes who Josh is, or rather who his mother was, and is taken aback before Gail gets the creeps and gets them on their way.
It seems like Josh is being a precocious brat, but ever since returning to the lodge, the haunting visions and dreams of his dead mother are getting to him, much less Gail. Sneaking back to Ruth’s mystical store, Josh steals what he believes to be a dreamcatcher, instead stealing something of far more dire consequence. So much for a quiet time in the country. Gail must tackle a curse along with an adolescent boy still resentful for his mother’s death.
The script by Kerry Harris, Dan V. Shea took me by surprise as it managed to avoid the usual pitfalls of such movies. We get to see Gail lose it a little in trying to figure out Josh’s increasingly erratic behavior. Ruth is written, not as a kookie quack, but as someone with a history and real, useful knowledge. That’s not to mention that Josh is understandably a bit of a jerk, making his unexplainable behavior somehow valid. No, it’s not perfect, but it’s darn good. Harris, who also directs, keeps things moving along, with only a few strange bits here and there that don’t flow.
Dreamkatcher is an above-average supernatural screamer that is more than worth the time to watch. No the movie doesn’t cover much new ground in the way of plot, but it presents what it has in an inventive, entertaining way that keeps the viewer guessing right up to the last.
Rating 6 out of 10
Dreamkatcher is now available on VOD