Dreamcatcher by Stephen King | Book & Movie Review

Sunday 3 November 2019

I’ve said this before and I’ll probably say it every time I do a review of anything Stephen King related. He’s written a lot of books. Some of them are very well known like IT, The Stand, 11/22/63, or The Dark Tower series. But others aren’t so well known. Dreamcatcher falls somewhere in the middle of that. Everyone I’ve mentioned it to reacts about the same way. “Oh yeah! I forgot about that one.” The reason that so many people may recognize the name of this book could be that either they’re avid readers, or they remember when the movie came out, and have since forgot about it.

So happy. So full of optimism.

I’ve both read the book and watched the movie so I thought I’d do a rare book and movie review. Let’s get the premise out of the way so you’ll know what it’s about. A group of four men, friends since childhood, are on their yearly hunting trip. One of the friends stumbles upon a lost and confused man and he decides to help him out and bring him back to their cabin. That’s the beginning of the end. What they don’t know is that an alien ship has crashed in the forest and is spreading a quickly growing fungus that takes over anyone who gets in contact with it, and the lost man has been infected. The four old friends get caught up in the middle of a situation that seems like it has no good way out, but something they did when they were children, a good deed, may just help them in the present day.

Dreamcatcher: The Movie

Even though the book came out before the movie did, I want to talk about the movie first because I want to end this blog on a high note.

Dreamcatcher is a movie from 2003 directed by Lawrence Kasdan. The screenplay was written by William Goldman and Lawrence Kasdan and it stars Thomas Jane (Deep Blue Sea), Damian Lewis (Homeland), Timothy Olyphant (Santa Clarita Diet), Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl), Morgan Freeman (Se7en), Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan), and Donnie Wahlberg (Blue Bloods).

This movie has all signs pointing to it being a good movie. Kasdan is known for movies like The Big Chill, Wyatt Earp, and French Kiss. Those are good movies. William Goldman was written movies like Butch Cassity and the Sundance Kid, All The Presidents Men, The Princess Bride, and The Ghost and the Darkness. More good movies. The cast is made up of good actors. The book its based on is a classic Stephen King novel. So what went wrong?

I’ll tell you what went wrong. They tried to cram a six hundred and seventeen page tome into a two hour and fourteen minute movie. It’s a big book and the movie, while it was a standard length, couldn’t even begin to tackle the story King told in the pages of his book.

The acting was good, probably the best part of the movie. But The story never got off the ground. It had to move too fast and, as a result, I never once cared about anyone. More of King’s work should either be broken into two movies like IT was (both times), or a show or mini-series because King’s stories are so deep and require more than a couple hours to tell a story.

This was a bad movie and I hate to say that in considering the pedigree of the cast. Even if you read and love the book. Even if you finish it and need more of it in your life, don’t watch this movie. It’s not worth your time. The only good thing this movie did was put faces to the characters so my lazy ass didn’t have to imagine them myself.

I figure that if I never read the book, I may have given this movie a higher score. But after reading the book I was so disappointed that I was unable to separate the two. Either way, it’s not a good movie and would have received, at best, a 5.

Dreamcatcher gets a 3 out of 11

Dreamcatcher: The Book

Okay. Let’s talk about something good. In fact, let’s talk about something great. Dreamcatcher by Stephen King is a commitment (though not as big of one as The Stand or IT is) but it’s well worth it.

The premise is the same so I have nothing to add there. But lucky for us, the book does. This book tells a well thought out and well paced story that kept me turning the pages night after night until it all finished. One problem some people have with Mr. Kings work is his love of diving into the history and back stories of places and characters that we don’t really need. Those of us who love King’s work don’t mind that facet of his style but those who aren’t huge fans or are on the fence with his work may find that part of his style a little exasperating. I bring that up because I believe that Dreamcatcher avoids what books like IT had so much of. He dives deep like he normally does, but he reigns it in a bit more than with his lengthier work. Do we really need the back story of someone who’s going to die moments after being introduced? No we don’t.

I found the ending to this book to be a tad (just a tad) predictable but I’m happy to say that I didn’t fully guess it. The path the story took is a path that I saw coming based on the foreshadowing in the characters’s pasts but how it all ended wasn’t what I predicted.

One thing I really enjoyed about the book was how the story jumped between the childhood and the present day for the characters and that you can see how they became the adults they did. It’s at times inspiring when you see that these childhood friends are still close. At times it’s also heartbreaking when you see those friends that got left behind.

Oh! Here’s something I forgot to mention in the movie section. I think the writers had sh*t for brains, not only because they did a hack job on a great story, but they messed up the ending too. Don’t worry, there will be no spoilers here. All I’ll say is that they completely changed how one character affected the story and in the dumbest way possible. It actually made me angry when the finale happened because it didn’t give the same satisfaction the ending of the book did.

The ending of the book did get a little odd, but it fit. And even though it was odd, it wasn’t stupid. The writers of the movie took the odd but good ending and turned it into a giant joke.

It wasn’t even a fair fight. The movie didn’t stand a chance.

This book was enjoyable from beginning to end and kept me invested the whole time. It’s not King’s best work, but that doesn’t mean it was bad at all. I could list a bunch of his books that were better, but this was still good.

Also, if you’re a Stephen King fan, or even just remotely familiar with his work, you’ll enjoy the tiny Easter eggs he drops in his work. The main characters were born and raised in Derry, Maine. Sound familiar? There’s a radio station they sometimes listen to that comes out of Castle Rock. That’s one of the best parts of reading a book by King is trying to find all of these small hints at his greater universe. One of his short stories called UR is linked, ever so slightly, to the Dark Tower series. Pet Sematary has mention of a rabid dog in the town of Castle Rock. Cujo anyone?

But I digress, Dreamcatcher is a good book but if you’re not familiar with King’s work I would suggest picking up something like 11/22/63 or The Stand first. They may be epically long books, but they’re some of his best.

Dreamcatcher was good and I recommend it. It’s a good story that manages to avoid being as long and drawn out as some of his other works but it still tells a complete and enjoyable story.

Dreamcatcher by Stephen King gets an 9 out of 11

Post a Comment

follow me

© Billiam The Nerd