Discs Are Rated
Click above to purchase "In Dreams" at amazon.com
review by Ren C.
Running Time: 100 minutes
Starring Annette Bening, Robert Downey Jr., Aidan
Written by Bari Wood, Bruce Robinson and Neil Jordan
Directed by Neil Jordan
Retail Price: $24.99
Features: Theatrical Trailer, Production Notes
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Digital
5.1, English 2.0 Dolby Digital, English Subtitles, Chapter
"I see bad people." Despite being released a year before
"The Sixth Sense", this was the thought in my head as I
watched "In Dreams". The movie is set up with an
interesting plot and an above average cast, and somehow
manages to waste both of them. The basic plot revolves
around Claire Cooper, an illustrator who is plagued with bad
dreams. This is a problem that many people have, but
Claire's are different, her dreams become reality. Despite
this, Claire lives a normal, almost idyllic life with her
husband Paul (Quinn), and daughter Rebecca.
Things take a turn for the worse however, when Claire
starts receiving "clues" through her dreams connected to the
disappearance of a young girl in the community. The dreams
start to get worse and worse, and finally Paul goes to the
police to enlighten them. Sadly, it is too late, as the
body of the young girl has been found. The dreams don't
stop however, and they soon get much closer to home. Claire
shares a very special connection with the kidnapper-his
crimes are forecast through her dreams...and her family is
very soon affected.
The night of a school play, Rebecca is abducted, and
Claire has a vision of Rebecca's death, which all too
quickly is proven true. Claire is so overcome with grief
that she attempts to take her own life as well, and goes
into a coma for six weeks. When she comes out of it, she
continues to have dreams, although by this point the dreams
have become "visions" that can strike at any time. The
question now is, is there really a connection between Claire
and the man who has been dubbed Red (Downey), or is Claire
slowly going insane. More importantly, can the answer be
determined before the rest of Claire's family is affected?
On the surface, this sounds like a quite engaging and
interesting plot. However, the way in which it is executed
is confusing and at times, mind-boggling. There are several
holes in the plot that a truck could be driven through, and
the movie quickly goes from compelling to confusing.
Artistically, the movie also seems very muddled. Several of
the scenes are done in near-total darkness, for reasons that
Another major problem I had with the movie was the lack
of character development. We are dropped right into the
middle of the situation, with no explanation of who the
characters are, or why Claire is having these particular
dreams starting now. More light is shed on this later in
the movie, but it makes for a very confusing first
half-hour. The actors also seem to be on cruise control
throughout the movie, although Bening makes a valid effort,
and Downey, for some reason does his best Anthony Perkins in
portraying Red. It is disappointing that what could have
been an inventive and original movie instead turns into a
The transfer here has some very interesting contrasts.
While many of the scenes are either too dark, or overly lit,
those were cinematography choices, and not faults of the
transfer. As such, the transfer can hardly be blamed,
although there were a few instances where the actors had a
slightly "circus peanut-y" hue to them. I also noticed a
few stray specks on the transfer, but aside from that, the
transfer is fairly good.
I was less than impressed with the Dolby Digital track
here. The audio track throughout seemed to be mixed very
low, with dialogue especially suffering at some points.
There were a few instances in the movie where the dialogue
was almost drowned out by the sound of footsteps on the
stairs. I enjoy and appreciate the work that Foley artists
do on movies, but not quite to the extent where I want the
effects to be the most powerful thing on the track.
Yawn. "In Dreams" practically defines bare bones, with
the only supplements being the absolute minimum of cast and
crew biographies, production notes, and a fairly
underwhelming theatrical trailer.
To reiterate, this movie had a lot of potential, but all
it managed to do with it was produce something that would
fit easier within the "Nightmare on Elm Street" series than
a credible drama or thriller. The audio and video are
nothing spectacular, and features are nearly nonexistent.
Recommendation to avoid.
(1.5/5, NOT included in
(1.5/5, NOT an average)