Deadly Dreams (1988)
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"Deadly Dreams" does hold together at first until you realize that after a while you, as well as Alex, can't tell whats a dream and whats reality! That take away a lot from the tension and suspense of the movie.
The wolf-masked killer is seen popping up all over the place with really no real explanation why he's there and why have him put on that ridicules mask! Since were told who he is in the first place? Later we meet Alex's older brother Jack, Xander Berkeley, who seems to be mad at him for not tending to the family business which his parents left him. You wonder why did they leave it to the much younger Alex, who was ten at the time of his parents death, and not his older brother Jack who seemed to be much more competent. On top of all that Alex didn't seem to care if Jack was in charge so why the conflict between the two brothers?
Alex is attending college and does some free lance writing on the side and, with the exception of his nightmares, seems happy with his lot in life. Danny, Tom Babbes, a collage friend of Alex gets him to meet pretty and at the same time mysterious Maggie Kallir, Juliette Cummins, on a dare who we later see is having an affair with Jack. Together their both trying to drive poor Alex insane in order to get his share of the inheritance that was left to him from his parents. There's an even more sinister force involved in the story that doesn't reveal itself until the very last minute or so of the movie.
"Deadly dreams" could have been a really great horror movie but it was so hooked up in it's many dream sequences that they just about wrecked the entire film. The plot holes, mostly due to the dream sequences, were as deep and as many as a mine field in the Western Sahara Desert during the Battle of Al Alamine. Watching the movie I wondered what a top horror film director of the 1980's like Fred Walton or Sam Raimi would have done with the same movie? The improvement in the movies story-line would have been quite noticeable and made more sense.
The material in the film "Deadly Dreams" was far better then most stories that were made into horror/suspense films back then and the movie should have been far better then it ended up being. If only all those confusing and annoying dream-sequences were cut out of it.
Acting is quite good and shines up in a few places. A lurking fear is felt through the whole movie but there should really have been a better punch in the shock department. It's like the director couldn't decide if he would do a psychological thriller or a horror/slasher.
Young Alex parents was murdered during Christmas eve by a business competitor who shot himself after that, or so we are told after about one hour into the movie. This is a rather cheap trick to make the viewer wonder if Alex is imagine the murderer's appearance or if he's real. It is also probably a trick to make the movie longer. You see, Alex is not only dreaming about the killer, he also hallucinates seeing him. This could have been done much more exciting, because the mask the killer wears is frightening. Problem is that Alex really sees the killer, and therefore is not mentally ill. This is where the script lacks because it becomes unrealistic and clumsy staged. Later in the movie we are introduced to his brother though, who at first seems rather caring about Alex but later we find out about his real intentions. A triangle-drama is suddenly appearing and the whole thing finally becomes rather laughable.
Well, the premise is good. I mean it's naturally that a kid who has his parents killed in front of his eyes and then told by the killer to run or be shot works up a tendency for mental illness and becomes unstable. Any kid would have become traumatized by that. If the movie had been done by a more skilled director who could work with the story in a more exciting way and made the movie run at a faster pace, this would probably have been really interesting I think. Now it's only a rather dull mishmash.
Rated R; Nudity, Violence, Sexual Situations, and Profanity.
Don't bother seeking it out - it's REALLY not worth it.
Director Kristine Peterson relates the engrossing story at a snappy pace, ably crafts an eerie and intriguing enigmatic atmosphere, and generates a good deal of tension. The smart and taut script by Thom Babbles delivers a dandy surprise twist at the end; Babbles also acquits himself well in a sizable supporting role as Alex's wisecracking best buddy Danny. Xander Berkeley likewise excels as Alex's bitter and overbearing older brother Jack. Popping up in nifty small parts are Duane Whitaker as vicious psycho Norman Perkins, Troy Evans as a gruff sheriff, and Stacey Travis as a friendly librarian. Moreover, there's a satisfying smattering of sex and violence as well as some tasty distaff nudity courtesy of ravishing redhead Mrs. Cummins. Zoran Hochstatter's glossy cinematography provides a snazzy stylish look. Todd Boekelheide's shivery score hits the spine-tingling spot. Worth a watch.
From the director of the highly acclaimed "Body Chemistry," comes a frightening excursion into terror. Alex is caught in a web of distrust between his brother, his best friend, a beautiful stranger and the renewed dreams of the slaughter of his family.
Brief film with a wicked twist of an ending and a few chilling scenes, features lack luster direction and performances. This film could have been so much more given the premise.
But of course, it is slightly cut in one part near the end that made no sense in the ending. Of course, I've seen this go up for about 200 bucks on eBay because that movie was popular back then, not anymore because people hate this one. So I waited until I could get the Virgin Video.
Rated R for Violence, Nudity, Profanity and Sexual Situations.
The movie is so confusing at times you never know when the dreams are real or not. The movie generally revolves around a man who was in the house with his parents the night they were murdered by a hunter in (I'm guessing) a wolf's head mask.
The movie moves along at all the velocity of a golf cart, with no real twists or turns. There is the underlying story of the main characters both in love with the same woman, who's playing both sides in order to get ahead (can you say gold-digger?) I'll give it a 3 out of 10, because it does have some nice nude scenes, with a very cool ending despite its slow story. However if you are looking for a great horror film, look away at another one instead.
Deadly Dreams plays off like an episode of Tales From the Crypt. It just runs 35 minutes too long. The storyline starts out with a family on Christmas Eve. Two parents and their son Alex wait for the oldest son to come to the house. When they receive a knock on the door, it isn't the oldest son but a man with a rifle who guns down the two parents. 10 years later Alex is 20 years old and often has horrible nightmares of the man who killed his parents murdering him. Alex and his brother both gained a hefty inheritance from the death of their Father and it looks like someone might be trying to get their hands on it.
For a movie that runs 79 minutes it certainly is very slow. We don't get anything new out of the storyline as Tales From the Crypt did have a story very similar to this one in one of the old comic books. At least the acting was decent in this film and the last ten minutes are interesting. Other then that, I was falling asleep at times.
This movie might be good for one viewing on a boring Sunday afternoon. Other than that, I would rather watch something else. 5/10