Dream Demon (1988) Review

Dream Demon is a slice of psychological horror straight out of the 80’s that has been missing from many horror heads collections since it came out on VHS many many years ago.

Brought back to life by the amazing Arrow Video the Blu-ray release sees a brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative supervised and approved by the films director and co-writer Harley Cokeliss.

Evoking elements of Paperhouse and Nightmare on Elm Street the story sees nervous bride to be Diane (Howards End’s Jemma Redgrave) terrorised by nightmares on the build up to her wedding to decorated Falklands Island war hero Oliver (Mark Greenstreet).

While her fiancé is working away Diane ends up living alone in the huge old house her father has purchased for the couple as a wedding present. It is here her dreams start to increase in intensity and violence as if the building itself was somehow responsible.

Tired and anxious all the time unfortunately her waking life is equally stressful seeing as she is being plagued by two sleazy reporters (played by Timothy Spall and Jimmy Nail) desperate to get the scoop on the celebrity couple before the big day.

Appearing out of nowhere and sweeping in to save Diane from the hurtful and intrusive questions troubled American tourist Jenny (Kathleen Wilhoite) is a breath of fresh air in the uptight and innocent engaged girls life.

It soon transpires however that Jenny has long forgotten links to the mysterious house Diane lives in that have been erased from her memory making her arrival seem anything but a coincidence.

As Diane’s dreams begin to reshape reality all around them it seems both women may hold the key to solving the painful secrets locked away in the past but can they uncover all they need to know before its too late.

For those looking for a complete and concise story Dream Demon may leave you lacking and although many elements may seem derivative overall its still an enjoyable journey into the dream world.

The inner workings and meanings of the dreams we all experience has long been a staple of horror and with the increase in special effects the ability for filmmakers to bring the world of nightmares to life with all there unhinged elements has seen the simple set up of Dream Demon repeated over a multitude of movies.

Utilising some great practice effects as well as grotesque make up Harley Cokeliss does a solid job cranking up the terror throughout the film using some excellent sets to simulate the surreal and scary geography we have all found ourselves in while navigating the eerie environments of our own psyches.

80’s screen staples Jimmy Nail and Timothy Spall do a great job transitioning from gutter press perverts intent on making Diane’s life a misery to hideous monsters that inhabit her mind. As co-leads Jemma Redgrave and Kathleen Wilhoite spur each other on united in sisterhood by the unsettling events they experience and ultimately healing each others hidden wounds in a way they never anticipated.

Jam packed with extras there are newly-filmed interviews with nearly everyone involved in the main cast and crew making Dream Demon a must have for lovers of 80’s and British horror alike.

Movie Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Trailer:

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Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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