DREAMCATCHER Review – A Colorful Send-Up of DJ Culture That Doesn’t Produce a Killer Remix

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Directed by Jacob Johnston

Written by Jacob Johnston

Starring Lou Ferrigno, Jr, Niki Koss, Adrienne Wilkinson

First time feature director Jacob Johnston’s love for the horror genre manages to shine through the strobe lights and incessant fog machine out on the dance floor but his take on the slasher subgenre feels a little like a repetitive beat stuck in a loop. Coming from the world of short film, it may seem like the familiar setup of a mystery killer picking off club kids one by one would be easier to execute but the kills have to mean something. Otherwise, each stabbing just feels like a rinse and repeat of the last murder from twenty minutes ago.

Dreamcatcher does add a few layers to keep things relatively interesting, though. Showing the perils and pitfalls of the music industry, a bum deal with the devil for everlasting fame, and the effects of teen suicide on grieving ravers, Johnson and team are trying to keep the party going. Just like a good DJ should. Despite their efforts, things don’t really come together until the final reveal.

Known to his fans as DJ Dreamcatcher, Dylan (Burns) says right from the start that he will do anything for fame. His fiery agent Josephine (Wilkinson) is the demon on his shoulder making backroom deals to ensure his success – and hers as well. Their world collides with an innocent (enough) group of wide-eyed, dance-crazed twentysomethings led by best friends Colton (Ferrigno, Jr.) and Pierce (Koss) at an underground music fest called…Cataclysm. Things spiral out of control when Dylan busts out some mescaline pills and a stab happy masked killer suddenly appears.

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Nikki Koss in Dreamcatcher. Courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films

There’s more going on in Dreamcatcher than just a drug-fueled murder rampage inside a nightclub, however. Some of the more devilish and ghostly elements that pop out of the shadows still wind up a little sidelined, though, in favor of more uninspired kills that aren’t staged particularly well. That repetition, along with Alexander Taylor’s admittedly indulgent score kind of beat you into submission. It doesn’t help the intended dance club energy of the film either when an early suicide scene echoes through the rest of the movie serving as a time out for the rest of the characters to grieve. For any of you that have dropped acid at a rave before, Dreamcatcher starts to feel a little like a long, fun night of dancing that you suddenly want to come to an end.

Once the mystery killer is revealed in the closing minutes, the interlocking pieces really do come together to deliver an almost Agatha Christie inspired whodunnit ending. When the mask is removed, who’s underneath it may actually surprise you. (The design of the mask itself is never too frightening, mainly because it looks a bit like the Spy vs Spy cartoon strip from MAD magazine). Dreamcatcher isn’t necessarily a parody of DJ culture but it definitely exists in the post-Scream slasher world where everyone is a suspect. If you can make it past the first act it’s almost worth staying for the afterparty.

Related Article: Exclusive Interview: Composer Alexander Taylor Discusses His Haunting Score for DREAMCATCHER

Dreamcatcher is available On Digital and VOD March 5, 2021.

  • Dreamcatcher


Dreamcatcher doesn’t exactly add anything new to the post-slasher movie but it does have a pulsating soundtrack and a surprisingly strong wrap up.

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