FRIDAY REVIEW

"Dreamcatcher"

"Dreamcatcher" ... another bizarre Stephen King fare.  

IT WOULD take a lot to figure out Warner Bros' "Dreamcatcher" — that is if you have not read the book by Stephen King from which it has been pared down.

And knowing King's genre of stories, the bizarre and the ordinary co-exist — along with a propensity for some metaphysical wanderings in some of the most mundane situations! So don't be surprised if there is some extra terrestrial hostility in the midst of some otherworld — time warp sort of scenario, where all sorts of things are possible. They may not be as savvy as something out of "The Matrix", but will do for those with a stomach for the twists and turns.

The sublime and the crass happen in quick succession. Camerawork in the almost mystical settings of a winter — animals running against the misty ghostly light, snow tracks and silvery birch — brings about visuals that are almost operatic. And then, you have flatulence, awful looking fungus, and blood spilling out of guts — followed again by some twisting eel/ python-like alien creatures, that slither and hiss along, chomping away at any flesh in sight — and you wish the camera wouldn't be so graphic and honest.

Which brings us to the weird hodge podge that is the story. Four friends, 20 years ago, saved a mentally challenged boy, Duddits from the local bullies.

And Duddits, for some reason, possessing strange powers passes it on to the four out of gratitude. And now, in the present as adults, they have these extra sensory skills that are both a blessing and a curse. Add to this the metaphysical views of them being trapped in the memory warehouse, and you have your cup full of ideas to digest.

They meet every year at a hunting retreat at a remote cabin in Maine. And this time, Thomas Jane, Jason Lee, Damien Lewis and Timothy, find themselves confronting strange things. Two of them go out for provisions while the other two stay back home to hunt. A fierce snowstorm strikes. An alien ship lands. An aggressive Army chief (Morgan Freeman), would rather kill first and then find out what is going on! One duo comes across a frost bitten man in the woods, whose stomach seems to be growing by the minute! Something alien manages to jump out and eats his fingers up. This creature, part of the grand plan of the alien called Mr. Gray who wants to have his creatures invade earth and annihilate all humans, embeds itself in the body of a human. When fully grown, it comes out, multiplies, and eats up more humans. The other duo also encounter something similar.

Obviously, all the telepathic talents are put to use to trap the alien with a history. The different elements move higgledy-piggeldy till a very clich�d end with some otherworld musings — makes you wonder "Hey, have I got on to the wrong track?'' Directed by Lawrence Kasdan, and adapted to the screen from the book by William Goldman, "Dreamcatcher" hardly pays much attention to the title that alludes to a native Indian charm supposed to trap nightmares.

CHITRA MAHESH