Jacob Johnston’s directorial debut starts with a head stomp, to make you sit up and take notice of his supernatural, serial killer feature. Although the film never revisits such brutality again, it does snare you into an intriguing plot, where we aren’t quite sure how mystical things really are.
After the killer (who wears a featureless bird mask and hoodie) dispatches a nasty publicist in a car park, with said boot, we are introduced to Pierce (Niki Koss). She is hanging out, watching horror movies with best mate Jake (Zachary Gordon), when they are interrupted by her estranged sister Ivy (Elizabeth Posey) and her best mate from medical school. Ivy has bought them all tickets to a music festival headlined by DJ Dreamcatcher (akin to Deadmau5 in this universe). Unfortunately, it turns out our resident DJ, who uses the killer’s mask on stage, has a habit of getting young girls killed when he invites them backstage. After a member of the group commits suicide after taking a hallucinogen, Dreamcatcher’s uber bitch manager forces them all into silence, while everyone starts getting killed off one-by-one, by our masked killer.
If this all sounds a little convoluted, it is. The film is too long and suffers from middle section sagging, Ivy reciting Macbeth coming over as pretentious. However, the film toys with the audience, not knowing if the killer is a ghost or a human being, and the opening and closing scenes are hugely effective in creating an atmosphere of dread and doubt. With a little more focus and some trimming of the fat, Dreamcatcher could have been truly great rather than decent.