Pros:Camaraderie among the four guys. The portrayal of Jonesey's mind as a vast library.
Cons:Everything else. Complete degeneration after the stage-setting scenes.
The Bottom Line: Unless you're a King fan, love the genre, or stick around for a free movie after the Animatrix short, skip "Dreamcatcher". 3 of 10.
**Warning! Spoilers Ahead!**
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I knew very little about Dreamcatcher going in (I went to see the Animatrix short that preceded it and stuck around for the feature), except that it was adapted from a Stephen King book. It felt like it needed that large number of pages to fully flesh out everything. King's horror writing doesn't seem to translate well to the screen. Even with the too-long time frame, both character and plot development are missing. I hope the book does a better job at piecing everything together.
Having said that, the first thirty minutes or so of "Dreamcatcher" were solid. In that time, the four main characters were introduced, as was their ESP-like power. Then the life-long friends unite for their annual hunting trip. That's when the weird stuff really kicks into high gear. Unfortunately that's also when the movie begins to unravel, as "Dreamcatcher" painfully transitions from a edgy, supernatural drama to a generic alien invasion flick.
After a stupid and predictable character decision (Do you need toothpicks that badly?), the worm-like creature does its thing, and I was still into the movie. Then the tall alien creature was shown, and that was the official point at which the movie began to crumble. By succumbing to the urge to show the evil beings, director Lawrence Kasdan (usually reliable for a decent pic) robs "Dreamcatcher" of most of its tension. Instead of holding off for most of the movie like "Signs" did, he reveals the terror almost immediately. So instead of enduring an hour or edge-of-your-seat drama, you only have to deal with it for a couple minutes.
From there, nothing really surprises or entertains that much, which is unfortunate considering that the movie lasts about ninety more minutes. Morgan Freeman and Tom Sizemore eventually show up as members of a top-secret military outfit that plans to eradicate the aliens. But nothing they do seems to fit within the structure of how the military actually operates. In an real-life time of war, the over-the-top nature of the script seems even more implausible and almost irreverent.
There actually were two good things about "Dreamcatcher." The camaraderie of the four friends, which contributes to the quality of the opening scenes, seems genuine. All are played by well by actors that you know or at least recognize, but they are not stars. The high point (and only original part) was Kasdan's rendering of the inside of Jonesey's mind as a vast library. These scenes expertly displayed how the alien life-form invaded Jonesey, but did not completely take him over. But those two pluses were not nearly enough to outweigh the slew of minuses in "Dreamcatcher."