Bad Dreams (1988)

APRIL 9, 2007

GENRE: CULT, SLASHER (?)
SOURCE: CABLE (FLIX)

Why must almost every movie that features group therapy have a character who pretends to be the shrink upon meeting the film's hero(ine), fooling them until the real doctor comes in??? Was this idea EVER considered interesting or clever?

Anyway, Bad Dreams might have gotten tossed into the "Crap" genre if it wasn't for a brief moment in the final scene that made the movie worth watching. It's a moment that, taken out of context, wouldn't mean much, but after sitting thru 80 minutes or so of extremely half-assed storytelling, suspense, etc, the moment sums the movie up perfectly. Even though this site is designed to discuss the movie openly, as if everyone has seen it, I still feel it shouldn't be spoiled. It's a reaction shot of the detective, and that's all I will say.

One of the problems (there are many) with the movie is that the whole 'Bad Dreams' angle is highly under utilized. In fact, I think there were only 3 dream sequences in the whole film, and one wasn't even the dream of the main character. And the first death, while Freddy-ish in some ways, sets up a cool premise: the final girl dreams that someone drowns, and they in fact drown almost simultaneously. But that's the only time they use the gimmick, from then on she's wide awake (sometimes just a few feet away) while the ghost of her cult leader offs her therapy support group one by one.

Sadly, rather than go with this not incredibly original but still entertaining idea, they decide to provide a rational explanation for the entire movie: that a scheming doctor has been giving them pills to make them go even more mental and in turn commit suicide. Ho hum. There's also a few lines too completely inane to even laugh at, such as when Rubin asks what a psychiatrist is.

The cast is a who's who of 80s cinema: Jennifer Rubin from Nightmare 3, Bruce Abbott from Re-Animator, the guy who played Chainsaw in Summer School, etc. The director has gone on to make Dick and The Craft (thanks pal) and writer Steven E. DeSouza of course went on to write/direct Street Fighter (a film that received my all time favorite Entertainment Weekly review: "Written with a crayon, directed with a baseball bat, and edited with a chainsaw.").

I'm guessing the film is left off of most resum├ęs.

What say you?

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