Bring Me a Dream annoys me from all angles, but I’m also frustrated because I’m not qualified to criticize its lack of originality. The horror-thriller reminded me that I have never seen a Nightmare on Elm Street movie (aside from Freddy vs. Jason which is more of a collaboration than a standalone film). However, I’m familiar enough with the Freddy Krueger character to see similarities between Krueger and Bring Me a Dream’s derivative boogeyman the Sandman. The Sandman stalks people by weakening them through their insecurities and killing them while they’re left vulnerable. Whether the victims are asleep or not is left as an ambiguous factor in Bring Me a Dream, but they’re definitely withdrawn from their present consciousness. The story is pitched to us as victims witnessing their worst nightmares and a character, briefly and straight-up, compares The Sandman to Freddy Krueger. It’s all very….fishy.
But whether the film is a shameless knock-off or a victim of the wildest coincidence ever, Bring Me a Dream doesn’t offer anything worthwhile for viewers looking to be scared, entertained, or enlightened. Writer/director Chase Smith tries to tell a story about terrible people finding their own self-respect while also fighting to follow through with their new independence, but a cast of underdeveloped characters and overwrought performances along with Smith’s incomprehensible vision (muddy audio and harsh lighting included) completely kills the premise.
The narrative is framed around a confrontation between members of a vapid sorority, their hunks, and a hysterical party-crasher who is wanted for murder. The stranger blames the evil Sandman for the killings while holding the sorority at gunpoint, and proceeds to summon the Sandman to prove herself. From then on, the Sandman (Tyler Mane, looking more ridiculous than scary) torments each person as his victims plan to run out the boogeyman’s clock by staying vigilant until daylight.
The fear-facing begins with confrontational, clichéd family drama and tacky hallucinations, but soon drifts into more serious topics of race and closeted homosexuality. Having not earned the maturity to use these subjects beforehand, Chase Smith doubles down by handling them irresponsibly. Smith takes too much enjoyment in having his actors be foul for the sake of being edgy, and this added behaviour is only used to repetitively acknowledge character insecurities (which could’ve been delivered in more tasteful ways).
Chase Smith never justifies his choices as a screenwriter or a filmmaker; resulting in a movie that’s not only unforgivably sloppy and offensive, but also unwatchable.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie