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Dreamscape (1984)

6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 8,915 users  
Reviews: 56 user | 51 critic

A young psychic on the run from himself is recruited by the government to save the US president whose mind is trapped inside the dreamworld.

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Title: Dreamscape (1984)

Dreamscape (1984) on IMDb 6.3/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
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Charlie Prince
Larry Gelman ...
Mr. Webber
Cory 'Bumper' Yothers ...
Buddy
Redmond Gleeson ...
Snead
...
Babcock
...
Finch
Jana Taylor ...
Mrs. Webber
...
Fred Schoenstein
Kendall Carly Browne ...
Mrs. Matusik
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Storyline

A government funded project looks into using psychics to enter people's dreams, with some mechanical help. When a subject dies in his sleep from a heart attack Alex Gardner becomes suspicious that another of the psychics is killing people in the dreams somehow and that is causing them to die in real life. He must find a way to stop the abuse of the power to enter dreams. Written by Zaphod <aaa@scs.leeds.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It takes an extraordinary adventurer to enter the... See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

15 August 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dreamscape  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kevin Costner was offered the role of Tommy Ray Glatman but turned it down because he did not want to play a supporting role. See more »

Goofs

When Ms. Matusik has a heart attack, the paddles used to try and revive her are placed in the wrong spots on her chest. One paddle is supposed to be placed on the upper right of the patient and the other on the lower left at the base of the ribs. This allows for proper current travel through the heart. But both paddles are placed on her upper chest at her shoulders. This would do nothing for the patient. Also, you can see the actor jump before she is "shocked." See more »

Quotes

Doctor Paul Novotny: Bill Hardy has been a good test subject for us before.
Alex Gardner: Oh, he's a steel worker. I'll probably wind up in some bad beer commercial.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Psych: A Nightmare on State Street (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Baby, Can't We Take It Home
Composed and Performed by Craig Huxley
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User Reviews

 
A great low-budget genre-melder
10 February 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Years after studying Alex Gardner (Dennis Quaid) for his psychic abilities, Dr. Paul Novotny (Max von Sydow) tracks him down to talk him into experimenting with psychic dream research. However, higher ups in the dream research program may have ulterior, nefarious motives.

Dreamscape may be a good candidate for "most misleading poster art". The theatrical poster, which is also the DVD cover, suggests a kid-oriented, slightly hokey adventure film--perhaps a combination of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), The Neverending Story (1984) and "The Hardy Boys Mysteries" (1977). Not that the combination sounds like a bad idea to me, but this film is much more adult, much more sci-fi, and more of a thriller. It's not really an adventure, although some of the dream material could be seen that way. The tone, if not content, is closer to something like Coma (1978), and later films like Flatliners (1990) and The Cell (2000), the latter being obviously influenced by Dreamscape. It also has a bit of the bizarre surrealist tone of late-1970s fare such as Phantasm (1979) (and this aspect also influenced films like The Cell).

Part of the reason the films works as well as it does is the cast. Dennis Quaid carries the film, frequently injecting enjoyable comic relief. Max von Sydow is always excellent. Kate Capshaw, as Jane DeVries, is also good as the research assistant and Alex' love interest. Although they're underused, Christopher Plummer, Eddie Albert, George Wendt and David Patrick Kelly all turn in superb performances as well.

Director Joseph Ruben frequently treats us to great dream sequences, with often-subtle touches. Note, for example, the different colors upon entering different persons' dreams. For the relatively benign construction worker, the entry is blue. For the child troubled with nightmares, there is a complex of colors. For Jane, who is giving Alex the cold shoulder, the color is an icy silver-white. Although the film was relatively low budget, and effects relatively primitive at the time, I thought all of the effects worked well. I even loved the part stop-motion, part guy-in-a-costume snake-man. At times the stop motion work briefly resembled Harryhausen. I especially loved the more surreal and more horrific aspects of the dreamworlds, such as we see from Eddie Albert's character, the expressionistic sets for the child's dream, the zombies, and so on.

Surprisingly, perhaps, Dreamscape is also much more effective on the suspense/thriller end than I expected it to be. There are a few great chase scenes, and one brutal (though not graphic) murder on-screen, one off-screen. It was also steamier than I expected in one section.


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