Bring Me a Dream is the latest release from writer/director Chase Smith. His Southern Rock hybrid of Faust and Friday the 13th, Dark Roads ‘79, was one of the more pleasantly surprising films I reviewed last year, so I ignored the low IMDB rating, and the obvious typo in the synopsis and gave it a watch. Was ignoring the warning signs as big a mistake for me as it usually is in the movies?
Avery Quinn (Jaclyn Betham, Getaway, Stars Fell on Alabama) is on the run from the cops, literally. With them only a few steps behind her she ducks into the Alpha Omega Pi sorority house. The handful of occupants, (it’s the night before Spring Break starts) weren’t expecting the bloodied woman begging for help to pull a gun on them but that’s exactly what she does.
She’s followed by Sheriff Lucas Dylan (Robert Pralgo, The Dark Red, Haven’s End) and Officer Trent Miller (Jesse Kove, Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan).Lucas promptly eats a bullet and Trent gets added to the hostages. Avery denies she killed the five people they say she did, but the ease with which she shoots Lucas and her generally crazy behavior make that hard to believe. Her story doesn’t help either. She claims she and her friends were playing a game and actually conjured up an entity she alternatively refers to as The Midnight Man, (the film’s original title) and The Sandman. To prove it she intends on doing it again.
Bring Me a Dream gets off a very rough start. The cops seem to be incredibly gun shy. They’re chasing an armed suspect in a mass killing but don’t shoot and let her run off. Trent gets into a standoff with her, and drops his weapon, and that’s after she’s shot his partner.
Bethan goes way over the top trying to portray the unbalanced Avery. The role is written as a cliché with her babbling and talking to herself and she cranks it up to eleven. The result is more funny than frightening. Carter (Bishop Harry) is equally unbelievable calling her a crazy bitch so often he seems to be trying to get her to start shooting.
The Sandman (Tyler Mane, Penance Lane, Halloween) does make an impressive entrance, I’ll give the film that. And once he appears, the game is on. They’ll have to face their worst fears, or be killed by The Sandman. Bring Me a Dream doesn’t the most original of ideas, but it’s one with potential.
Trent gets to face the ghost of his father, played by Jesse’s real life father, veteran action star Martin Kove (VFW, Cobra Kai). Among the things the others get to deal with are rape, drowning and a BDSM session gone very wrong. Not all of these are meant to instill fear. Trent’s confrontation with his father involves the fear of not living up to expectations rather than fear of death. The same with RJ’s (TJ Jackson, Encounter) fears of always being judged by his skin colour. These ones actually come off better than most of the encounters that are supposed to be frightening.
And that is unfortunate because Bring Me a Dream has its good points. Tyler Mane, with a bit of help from some digital effects, makes an imposing villain. Jesse Kove makes a good lead and April Bogenschutz (Attack of the Morningside Monster) as Gwyn supports him nicely. But in the end, Smith falls short of what I was hoping for. Bring Me a Dream isn’t the total disaster, but a horror film that lacks scares can’t really be called a success either.