Friday, May 3, 2024

Movie Review: ‘Dream Scenario’ a good premise weirdly executed

By Matt Pascarella

Rated: R
Runtime: 1 hour, 42 minutes

Paul Matthews is a professor at Osler University and a pretty ordinary guy. He has a wife and kids and kind of a mundane personality; some might say he’s a little on the boring side. All this changes when he begins being recognized by strangers. Not because they’ve met Paul, but because he’s appeared in their dreams.

At first, he’s not doing anything; the person may be having a chaotic or bizarre dream and he’s just there in the background. However, over time, the dream-version of Paul begins to harm people while they sleep. This leads to him being ostracized from society, people no longer feel comfortable with him around even though the real-life Paul is very nice and taken aback by this newfound infamy.

Things only get worse for Paul as these dreams affect his family. This is a good premise but it fell apart in the third act although a majority of the movie is decent.

“Dream Scenario” stars Nicolas Cage, Julianne Nicholson, Lily Bird, Jessica Clement, Tim Meadows, Dylan Baker, Noah Lamanna, Paula Boudreau, and Marnie McPhail.

College professor and average guy Paul Matthews (Cage) begins getting weird looks from the students in his class one day. After seeing a show at a theater with wife Janet (Nicholson), Paul runs into an old girlfriend (McPhail) who tells him he’s been appearing in her dreams, but not in a sexual way, just in the background.

Paul finds out more people are seeing him in their dreams – a lot of people. Paul makes it on the news and scientists begin trying to explain why this is happening. Paul goes viral and becomes a bit of a celebrity. This makes him very popular with his students.

He meets with an ad agency, but tells them he doesn’t care about fame. He’s more interested in trying to get a book he’s been wanting to write published.

One of the women who works at the agency tells Paul about her dream and at this point, the movie does have a bit of sexual content, but no nudity.

At times “Dream Scenario” blurs the line between dreams and reality where you don’t know which version of Paul you might be seeing.

When dream-version Paul begins harming people and in reality students and people become afraid of him, it leads to a waitress asking the real-life Paul to leave a diner as he sits there quietly reading a book.

It begins to affect his family when his wife is removed from a project at work and his kids are teased at school. All this makes Paul unravel a bit as he has become a pariah. He makes an apology video to appeal to the masses, but it may be too late.

The first act of this movie was really good. Aside from Freddy Krueger, I’ve never seen a movie about a man being present in people’s dreams before; it’s a solid premise. When things began to unravel for Paul in the second act, I was still interested. By the third act, it seemed unrealistic; that people wouldn’t be able to distinguish who they saw in a dream from a person barely paying attention to them. Despite this, I felt bad for Paul as it seemed like the world and his family were turning on him.

The ending of this movie was not great. On the plus side, Cage gives a strong performance as a man who has infamy put upon him; unlike what I normally associate him with being which is an over-actor looking for the Declaration of Independence. Seeing a toned-down Cage was nice – he played this character well. This was only an ok movie, but I can’t say I strongly recommend it. If you decide to watch it, go in with low expectations.

2 ½ stars out of five.

Available to rent and streaming on Max. <

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