A suburban housewife learns that she has a dreamworld connection to a serial murderer, and must stop him from killing again.


Neil Jordan


Bari Wood (novel), Bruce Robinson (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 win. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Annette Bening ... Claire Cooper
Katie Sagona ... Rebecca Cooper
Aidan Quinn ... Paul Cooper
Robert Downey Jr. ... Vivian Thompson
Paul Guilfoyle ... Detective Jack Kay
Kathleen Langlois Kathleen Langlois ... Snow White
Jennifer Berry Jennifer Berry ... Hunter
Emma J. Brown Emma J. Brown ... Dwarf
Jennifer Dragon Jennifer Dragon ... Dwarf
Samantha Kelly Samantha Kelly ... Dwarf
Jennifer Caine Natenshon Jennifer Caine Natenshon ... Dwarf
Bethany M. Paquin Bethany M. Paquin ... Dwarf
Erica Sullivan Erica Sullivan ... Dwarf
Amelia Claire Novotny Amelia Claire Novotny ... Prince
Kristin Sroka Kristin Sroka ... Wicked Stepmother


The housewife Claire Cooper is married to the pilot Paul Cooper and their little daughter Rebecca is their pride and joy. When a stranger kidnaps a girl, Claire dreams about the man but Detective Jack Kay ignores her concerns. But when Rebecca disappears during a school play, Claire learns that her visions were actually premonitions and she is connected to the killer through her dreams. She has a nervous breakdown and tries to commit suicide. Her psychologist Dr. Silverman sends her to a mental institution and soon she finds that her husband will be the next victim of the serial-killer. Further, the serial-killer was interned in the same cell in the hospital where she is. Will Claire be able to save Paul? Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You don't have to sleep to dream

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence/terror and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Aidan Quinn's dream scene was filmed in the halls of the Wentworth By The Sea Hotel, in New Castle, New Hampshire. At the time, it had been abandoned for many years. Today, the hotel is a thriving Marriott destination. It was also the site of the Russo and Japanese Treaty at the turn of the twentieth century, hosted by President Theodore Roosevelt. See more »


The First six minutes of the film while 'Aidan Quinn' and Annette Bening are at the bedroom doorway discussing her first dream about the missing girl, a black boom microphone can be clearly seen above them following each of their dialogue from behind the door header. See more »


[first lines]
Claire: [Helping daughter rehearse lines from Snow White while walking through trees by lake]
[In sing-song voice]
Claire: Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest of us all?
Rebecca Cooper: [Skipping through trees by lake]
[In sing-song voice]
Rebecca Cooper: You're the fairest in this hall but Snow WHITE is THE...
Claire: [laughs] Come on Rebecca, forget it's a play. Just, say it like you're saying it to me.
Rebecca Cooper: [sing-song voice] Snow White's the fairest of them all.
Claire: And again.
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Featured in The Last Days of the Board (1999) See more »


Written by David Gates
Performed by Bread
Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment Group
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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User Reviews

A true original
28 July 2000 | by dan-476See all my reviews

So what are we to make of Neil Jordan's 'In Dreams' and the wide and varied responses to it?

The film bombed just about everywhere in the world and yet looking through the user's comments on this website there are those who passionately adore it and those who passionately detest it.

I fall into the first camp.

For a start, it's a psychological horror movie that is genuinely scary and emotionally draining in a way that few films are these days.

Okay, the plot stretches belief but then again, I give you almost every mainstream horror movie made.

Compare it with the Sixth Sense which is equally far fetched but much less demanding.

You will see Jordan has turned out a much darker, more disturbing, more meaningful and more interesting multi-layered film.

Also, it has the advantage of not having Bruce Willis in it, turning in the sort of wooden performance he trotted out in The Sixth Sense.

In Dreams just stretches its audience.

Jordan and fellow scriptwriter, Bruce Robinson cleverly play with their audience's perceptions of their main character.

Is Claire genuinely going through these horrific experiences or is she going mad?

There is also a terrible cruel streak running through the film - especially in its treatment of its heroine and her family - which is so unusual and refreshing for a Hollywood film (perhaps this is the main reason why audiences and critics were so alienated by it, they're just not used to it).

Visually, Jordan's movie is sumptuous - the rich reds and greens, the autumnal colours, the ghostly underwater sequences.

And there are also the performances.

Bening, in probably her most neurotic role ever, is as compelling as always.

Aidan Quinn is suitably solid in the role of her troubled, if flawed husband.

Stephen Rea turns in another subtle performance as the psychiatrist. Paul Guilfoyle is also effective as the cop.

And then, there's Robert Downey Junior - so over the top you're waiting for him to crash land with one hell of a thump.

But then again, OTT is nothing new to this genre. I give you Jack Nicholson in The Shining, Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, Anthony Perkins in Psycho!

In Dreams is a multilayered film, attacking you visually, mentally and emotionally on a number of levels.

First, there is the nature of dreams and reality, madness and sanity, fairytales and fact.

Secondly, you can read it as a love letter to Hitchcock. There is so much Hitchcock in this film - Rebecca, Psycho, The Birds, Marnie, Notorious, Suspicion (they're all alluded to here and many, many more of the Great Master's movies).

Thirdly, there's many recurrent themes and imagery from Jordan's own work in here.

We have the psychologically disturbed boy from The Butcher Boy, cross dressing, gender bending in The Crying Game, holding captives in a gothic forest from the same film, even the famous run through the forest, the leap from a dam in We're No Angels, the tortured monster a la Interview with the Vampire.

Fourthly, there's the apples, those damned red apples that keep troubling everyone. Shades of Adam and Eve? Fairytales like Snow White?

In Dreams may not be Jordan's finest work but there is plenty in here to enjoy and to discover on repeated viewings.

The movie is uncomfortable viewing at times but gloriously over the top.

Time will tell how 'In Dreams' will be viewed in the context of Jordan's overall work and whether it will be a cult movie.

I think the biggest surprise of all is that it got through the Hollywood studio system. Full marks to Dreamworks for doing so.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

15 January 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Blue Vision See more »

Filming Locations:

Amherst, Massachusetts, USA See more »


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,992,449, 17 January 1999

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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