Reviews: 80s cult scifi Dreamscape returns

Published On July 25, 2017 | By Garth Cremona | Film TV & Theatre, Reviews

Directed by Joseph Ruben,
Starring Dennis Quaid, Max von Sydow, Christopher Plummer, Kate Capshaw

Coming to Blu-Ray at the end of July and nicely restored to make the most of the new hi-res technology is one of my favourite movies from the 1980s: Dreamscape. Dennis Quaid stars as Alex, a man with a high level of psychic powers; a mysterious group want him to join them as they enter people’s dreams to fix their real life problems. When the head of the group, a Government Black Ops specialist, wants to kill the President of the United States everything goes from crazy to insane. With an all-star cast, if you have never heard of Dreamscape then this 2k restored Blu-Ray release is the perfect chance to open your eyes, plus it comes with plenty of bonus features such as interviews, commentary, featurettes and more.

For years, long before the time of downloads, I was looking for this movie on DVD. Apart from the odd TV late night movie spot, you could not find it, and it did my head in. Dreams are that one thing that freak me out; I blame this film and A Nightmare on Elm Street/ For most of my teens I was sure that if you died in your dreams you died for real. I’m still not sure about that by the way.

Dennis Quaid plays Alex and this was back when he was the All American Boy Next Door, using his psychic powers to make money from the race track and in the cross-hairs of some gangsters. Thankfully the college based group that is well-intentioned is also being manipulated by the Government. Max Von Sydow is the Doctor who wants to use the ability for psychics to go into other peoples dreams for good, to help them cope with their lives, while the Government man, played by Christopher Plummer wants to use these psychics to eliminate the enemies of the state, and the head of state.

Why is it that I love this film? The way that Dreamscape manages to mix the action, adventure, fantasy, horror, and comedy elements is just so exceptionally well done that you wonder why this hasn’t been talked about in the same breath as other cult favourites from the same era, such as The Goonies. It is more adult-based as some of the themes deal with sexual deviance, although this is dealt with a firm tongue in cheek approach, and the dream sequences take a little getting used to as the dated effects technology used to create them stands out like a sore thumb.

The cast of Dennis Quaid, Christopher Plummer, Max Von Sydow, are joined by Eddie Albert, Kate Capshaw, David Patrick Kelly, and George Wendt. David Patrick Kelly plays the evil version of Quaid who is right on the case of killing people in their dreams for the Government. You know him from a lot of films where he plays the bad guy, most of you will know him from The Crow, he’s one of the crew that kills Eric Draven. He’s just as creepy and crazy here. The synth music that is playing over the film is a little annoying now that I’m watching it back.

My partner watched this film with me and a few times, during the more horror-based dreams, she jumped like a two year old girl. I was expecting these moments and didn’t jump, not once, honest. But the creature creation was great for the 1980s, and even today the nightmarish snake-man monster is truly a little scary.

Should you buy this film when it comes out at the end of July? Well if you like 80s movies, and good ones at that, then yes. For me this is like one of those 80s flicks that is always the top of my lists of films that you can watch any Sunday evening when the only thing that comes on the TV is the Antiques Roadshow and it starts to look tempting as it’s that or the X-Factor Results. Full of creative psychological manipulations of common dreams and with the added mixture of fantasy and psychics, what more could you ask for? Really what more? A welcome return for this 80s cult slice of intriguing sci-fi.

Dreamscape is released by Second Sight on July 31st on DVD, Blu-Ray, On-Demand and download services

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About The Author

Garth Cremona

Garth Cremona is an Irish writer, as well as reviewer of films, comics and books

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