25
May
13

Dream Demon (1988)

Diana dreams of beheading her fiance on their wedding day. Pretty strong indication something's wrong, I'd say...

Diana dreams of beheading her fiance on their wedding day. Pretty strong indication something’s wrong, I’d say…

What do you get when you take Vanessa Redgrave’s niece Jemma, that obnoxious actress (Kathleen Wilhoite) that played Lucy’s sister on Twin Peaks and add hints of A Nightmare on Elm Street and Hellraiser? The answer: a pretty trippy and surprisingly good psychological horror film that you’ve probably never heard of called Dream Demon.

Diana (Redgrave) and her mostly-absent fiance have just moved into a new apartment. Ever since, Diana’s been having bizarre dreams that expose her anxiety concerning her impending nuptials. After a run-in with some nasty paparazzi, she meets Jenny (Wilhoite), an American who has returned to England to discover her repressed past, which centers around Diana’s new home. The girls become fast friends, and end up going on a pretty terrifying journey together where dreams become reality and repressed memories and emotions are brought to life.

Creepy little girls never make for good dreams.

Creepy little girls never make for good dreams.

This movie surprised me at every turn. While it became pretty clear early on this was going to be a movie about repression, the discovery and confrontation of repressed memories and emotions is handled in some very unique ways. While yes, the idea of a film blurring dreams and reality is nothing new, it is approached differently here than I’m used to. While A Nightmare on Elm Street attempts to terrify its audience with a slasher who kills you in your dreams, all the terror in Dream Demon is psychological. Rather than scaring you with blood, guts and knived hands, Dream Demon unsettles you as you watch a young woman delve into the depths of her mind and confront all those horrifying bits she can no longer hide from herself, and that definitely makes for a more effective fright. I definitely had trouble sleeping after watching this!

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