Dream Stalker (1991)
WRITER: WHO KNOWS!
DIRECTOR: Christopher Mills
STARRING: Valerie Williams as Brittney
Mark Dias as Dead Ricky
Jan Stearman as Rita
Pamela Hong as Sherrie
John Tyler as Greg
QUICK CUT: Everyone wanders around mumbling for 80 minutes, and there's a dead motorbike racer going around killing people.
Brittney - The lead girl, who has little personality beyond "Ricky's grieving girlfriend". She's a model, but that doesn't matter, we just see her getting photographed for ten seconds at the start of the movie.
Ricky - A motocross racer, who is a bit obsessive, loves his girlfriend, and we have zero concept of his personality, since we only know him as a disembodied vengeful spirit.
THE GUTS: Welcome back, Triskelions! Happy day before Valentines if you're reading this as I post it, and as we do here at Trisk, it's time for our annual Just Wrong Love movie! This year's pick is Dream Stalker, the story of a man who loves his girlfriend so much he just won't let her go...even in death. So let's get right into this.
Right off the bat, the movie makes me hate it because they have made the daring decision to make the dialogue completely incomprehensible over the noise, from motorbikes rrrring by, to just plain old having the camera too far away. Buckle in folks, because I am gonna give you a blow by blow of every bad decision of this nature. Oh, and just the audio is at an intolerably low level in the first place, so we start at rock bottom and start digging.
We quickly meet Ricky and Brittney. Ricky is a motorbike racer, and he proposes to Brittney one day on a hill, and a bunch of random scenes which I suspect are here to just pad the movie out. The most important event we see is Ricky giving Brittney a creepy clown music box, saying that when she plays it, to think of him, and they'll never be apart.
THRILL as Ricky and Brittney make love in a hot tub! WATCH as they have not one, but TWO dinners! GASP as Brittney naps on a plane! CHILL as Ricky races his bike!
But wait, something happens as Ricky zooms down the track, runs over Brittney, then there's an explosion...AND IT WAS ALL A DREAM as Brittney wakes up screaming...which halfway through the scream, it cuts away to another scene.
Yes, that's right, the entirety of the first seven minutes of this movie is a dream, culminating in Ricky's death. And I could allow it as at least setting up their relationship and his demise, but we learn that Ricky's not dead yet...until he dies ten seconds later off screen. They couldn't have had this happen AFTER his death? It would've made SO much more sense that way, having nightmares and grieving, but no, it's a premonition?
We cut to some time later, Brittney is visiting Ricky's grave, and then we see Ricky lurking behind her. And then he gives chase through the cemetery, until she starts to get sucked into the ground and...IT WAS ALL A DREAM TWO - THE QUICKENING. And I swear the scream she wakes up into is the same one from before.
Oh Ricky you're so fine, you're so fine you invade my mind, hey Ricky. Hey Ricky!
And then we see that dream all over again, in IT WAS ALL A DREAM 3 - SEASON OF THE WITCH! But this time she narrates it. This is next level padding, folks.
But then we get more bad audio alerts, with background noise, cars, wind, BIRDS. But then they go to the next level! You know those kinds of scenes, where you are watching a car from the front, filmed from another car, and you can hear the people in the car you're watching, talking? Yeah, they try that scene here. I can hear the cars driving. I can even hear THE RAIN POURING OUTSIDE the lead car. But you know what I can't hear? THE PEOPLE I SHOULD BE LISTENING TO.
This movie comes with subtitles, but I am refusing to use them on general principles.
The bad audio continues as Brittney and her mom go and stand on a hill overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge to talk, and again, the sound of cars and rain drown out what I should be hearing. Somewhere in there, I can make out mom telling Britt that someday someone else will come along, and the pain she feels now will fade.
They head home, Brittney's friend sees them pull in, and she shouts out, COME ON OVER! But you know what? I STILL CAN'T HEAR JACK OR SHIT. There's a fucking bird chirping loudly in my ear, but can I hear a person across the street yelling? Not at more than a muffle, nope!
Her friend is messing around with a leaf blower, that starts up, and that makes Brittney think of of motorbike engines and she has some PTSD flashbacks again.
Oh, and there's more dialogue, but guess what all I can hear is!
And then they walk away, and their footsteps sound loud as hell! The footsteps have better sound representation! Way to go, foley artists!
Later, Brittney sits around, plays with her music box, and thinks she sees Ricky. All while the music box sparks and plays a creepy tune. Oh, and spoilers, that tune plays whenever there's a bad dream going on and/or Ricky appears. I hope you like it!
She goes to bed, Ricky shows up, and starts ghost groping her all over, and dude. Not cool. Even ghosts should ask for consent.
Uuugh, they even make a bad "oh no, the condom broke!" joke and this is REALLY uncomfortable. It doesn't help that we never really got to know Ricky, so the only sense we have of him is THIS, a creepy, ghost rapist.
But Brittney wakes up screaming because IT WAS ALL A DREAM FOUR. Live Free or Dream Hard.
She goes to see Doctor Frisk some more, but she's had enough frisking for one movie, and gets in a car with her friend. They say stuff, but again, a bird landed on my shoulder and won't shut up.
But enough of that, it's time for a RANDOM COSTUME PARTY at the mortuary, where Ricky calls up the mortician who dealt with him, and tells him to come to Ricky's grave. So literally, the costume party served absolutely zero purpose.
All it does is delay the mortician's realisation he's talking to Ricky for five seconds, thinking he's someone from the party, but that's ultimately pointless. Oh, and more dialogue is drowned out by the music box during this.
Oh, and why is Ricky here? Because the mortician...didn't properly line the grave with concrete!! OH NO. So he leaves the guy alive to do the job right. ...Wow, such a pointless spirit of vengeance.
But let's check in with Doctor Frisk who we can't hear talking over his computer beeping. But at least Ricky shows up to threaten him too. And we get to hilariously watch as the Doctor's tie is yanked around by nothingness.
To escape the attack of the dreamin' demon, Frisk runs away...and self defenestrates himself into a waiting car below.
Brittney decides to get away from it all and heads to her family's summer home in the woods, or whatever...and she runs into one of those dancing gangs from Fame or West Side Story out in the woods playing their music too loudly. ???
She heads out to turn off their music and go for a walk, and the random dancerobic gang won't let her pass. Lady, you're in the woods, just go in another direction. And this all leads to a random fight between Britt and the gang. I guess they had to have some group come along and make Ricky angry for hurting her, but this is such a stretch.
This fight SOMEhow attracts a huge crowd in the middle of the woods, but at least someone comes along to break it up. He's an old friend of the family, and informs us this camp is now for troubled youth...but then why is there' a family's cabin there??
While Brittney takes a relaxing bath later, we see someone creeping up and...it's not Ricky, just some guy who...gets his dialogue drowned out by running water? Did he break in to take a leak??
Of course, "I know the owners" doesn't really explain why he and his dog just walked in. Honestly, "I needed to use the toilet" almost becomes a more viable excuse.
But they knew each other in high school, they sit around and reconnect after Brittney gets dressed, and romantic music starts to play...and ABRUPTLY STOPS after four notes. It ALMOST sounds like its a natural false start to the song, like some of them do, but I actually think someone laid the audio down wrong, and forgot to fix it. Or maybe someone realised WAIT THERE IS DIALOGUE and maybe JUST MAYBE we should let people hear it!!
Hahahaha, NO because the music comes right back after a half second as the two kiss. Wow, that was forward of Greg. Brittney has a lot of problems with guys just not respecting her space.
Brittney tells Greg why she's so standoffish and hesitant, what with I JUST LOST MY FIANCE. And WOW, girl you just met tells you about her boyfriend who died two years ago, and you immediately lean in for a kiss.
Oh, and Greg mentions he heard about a muuuurder back in the city, and of course it just so happens to be Frisk. Dickens would be proud of that coincidence drop. But also, why would they suspect murder? Ricky's a dreamin demon. He leaves no evidence of his passing. Also, Frisk legit ran out the window *and killed himself*. He literally committed suicide. Suicide to escape, but still. A jump push fall test should so that.
We check in with some of the troubled kids in their thirties, and they get into an argument I'd love to hear, but instead I get the background music. Honestly, I start to suspect this movie is so ashamed of its own dialogue, it deliberately tried to drown it out in every way possible.
Brittney heads off into the woods and runs into two of the guys that essentially try to rape her. Not quite to that level, but she runs, they give chase, grab her, and use such lines as "We just wanna have a little fun!" How can one woman have such awful luck with men in the span of two days??
She runs away, conks her head on the ground, and passes out. The two run away, fearing they killed her, and...they try and make their escape in a boat. Cue the sounds of the river and the motor drowning out more dialogue.
And once again, they ought to check their oil filter, because it starts spewing out smoke that starts to choke them. I kinda can't hate Ricky too much for being a force for karma here.
Yeah, this thing is an assault on all your senses. Dream Stalker: The movie that dares you to decipher what's going on, while withholding audio and visual from you.
They fall out of the boat at some point, manage to find their way back through the smoke, and Ricky is there waiting to...cut away to some guy lumbering through the woods to take a shit. But he at least finds Brittney, and while the movie badly cuts from them to Camp Crystal Lake, she awakens, and Ricky disappears.
She heads home to calm down and sleep some more, and you know what this movie needs? Rick Sheridan. Rick needs to come along, go to sleep, and let Sleepwalker come out to play and clean up this mess.
While she dozes off, the troubled adults chill by a campfire and make camp for the night, and you will not believe what drowns out the dialogue this time. Fire. Merely crackling fire. FIRE FOR PHOENIX'S SAKE is being better mic'd then the people.
While she sleeps, Ricky heads off to the camp with an axe, and I guess he's about to kill someone, I'm not sure who or why, but he doesn't manage to do so. Because it's not helped by Brittney suddenly waking up to call her friend with the leaf blower to come up to the cabin.
The next day, Brittney runs into Sage, and the two guys who attacked her show up so he can yell at them some more.
And then this one guy trips down a hill that is barely a hill, and they try and make it seem like this epic spill down the mountain. It's the biggest laugh so far. But it gets better when his buddy climbs down to help him, sees he has a big stick jabbed in his leg, YANKS IT OUT and the stick is huge, blood gushes everywhere, and, "You'll be fine!!"
Brittney heads home, where Greg is making lunch, and she plays with her music box...which sends Ricky off to harass Sage while he's on the shitter. Poor guy gets stabbed with a pitchfork, bent in half like a folding table, and sucked down the outhouse hole. That is the worst way to go.
Oh, and in case you don't get the implication of this, Ricky is running around while she's awake, and just playing with the music box. Yep, the rules just arbitrarily changed for no reason!
And after mentally witnessing Sage's murder, Brittney decides, hey! Everyone who offends me or crosses me, or befriends me, is getting picked off by my jealous dead dreamin' demon fiance...I think I'll have sex with this hunk of a guy! I'm sure he'll be fine!
Oh and afterwards, it gets better! SHE TELLS GREG THIS AFTER SEX! "Oh, by the way, people I know are dying, and I think it's because of me! Ah ha ha!" That is a terrible sexually transmitted disease. This is no It Follows, that's for sure.
Brittney then tries to explain stuff, and after SOME MORE INCOMPREHENSIBLE MUMBLING someone must've realised this is important and turned up the gain, because we get to hear her BS explanation about being full of kinetix energy (We all are, Susan) and she's having kinetic nightmares... I...that...that doesn't mean anything.
That's when Shelly shows up finally, and Greg leaves to ponder how he may have just fucked his death warrant. And the mumbling returns now that plot details are leaked.
She tries to explain her suspicions to Shelly again, and her response is, "Don't worry, I brought plenty of drugs! :D" "SHelly, you know I don't do drugs!"
"I was only kidding, take a chill pill!" Uhhh...what did she just say??
But then the two guys who will NOT leave Brittney alone show up to harass her some more. Wow. Just wow. They show up at her house. CALL THE COPS. But they probably won't hear you because OH LOOK MORE MUMBLING.
The girls think they see someone, run right towards him (??), and Sherry knocks over the damned music box. Rather than leave it for later, she pauses in their escape to pick it up, which makes it start playing. And as she runs for the door again, the guy they were running away towards bashes her face in with a log.
Fortunately, I guess, Ricky shows up from the Mindscape and flings the guy off the deck.
The other guy comes out wondering if Ted's okay, and gets a machete buried two inches into his forehead. Ain't nobody okay in this movie.
Also, he falls to the ground twitching like a washing machine off balance. It's great.
Ricky comforts Brittney and pushes her down, knocking her out, so he can finally kill the dance gang from earlier. And wow, they did such a terrible job of colouring, everything is so very pink.
But then Brittney wakes up and IT WAS ALL A DREAM 5...or was it?? I honestly don't know anymore.
While Greg shows up to mumble around some more, and he gives her a necklace. When she turns her back to put it on, he slits her throat and IT WAS ALL A DREAM SIX. And they replay the same scream agaaaaain.
They get ready to leave, since this vacation is not helping Brittney de-stress at ALL. While she packs, Greg plays with the music box...YOU FOOL.
Ricky uses Greg to lure Brittney out, so he can yell at her for not waiting for him, and he chases her through the dark forest.
After a lot of running around, and throwing Greg's half dead body at her, she makes it to the car, and finds Sherry trying to put her face on in the rear view mirror.
She runs back to the house, and slashes the ghost across the neck, and he passes out. He was just luring her in though, and attacks by Mjolniring his knife into his hand.
He comes after her again, but fades away when the music box winds down. It's kinda sad when the bad guy is defeated by music stopping.
BUT WAIT. The music box winds down, BUT THE MOVIE'S BACKGROUND MUSIC BRINGS HIM BACK! It's powerful enough to drown out dialogue and SUMMON THE DEAD.
Okay okay, she kicked the box and it started back up again, but my way makes JUST as much sense with the logic of this movie, and is way more interesting.
Greg fights the dreamin' demon and grabs at the music box, flinging it away, and smashing it somehow on a rock, despite them being inside the house. He's got one heck of an arm.
Then we wrap up with Brittney's mom at the cemetery, until she hears the revving of a motorbike, sees Ricky, and...WAKES UP BECAUSE IT WAS ALL A DREAM SEVEN: NEW NIGHTMARE
She's at the hospital, watching over a recovering Brittney, who gets informed that Greg is in jail for the slight case of murder going around.
Brittney tries to explain what happened, and good luck with that! OH, and look, mom restored your music box! END CREDITS.
Video: Oof, this is rough. It's shot on video, so it has that going for it, the colour is all over the place, and just so dull.
Sound Bite: MumblemumbleCHIRRRPCHIRPCHIIIRPrrrrtRRRRRRRRRRR
Body Count: What this movie lacks in comprehensible dialogue, it makes up for in bodies, at least.
1 - 8:30 minutes in, and Ricky dies off camera on his bike.
2 - Ricky drives the psychiatrist to jump out the window
3 - Stabbed in the ass with a pitchfork and folded in half to be sucked down a shitter. Greg? Sage?
4 - Friend gets bashed in the head by random dude breaking in
5 - Ted gets flung off deck and dies on whatever
6 - Ted's friend gets knifed in the head.
7 - Ricky kills guy at camp and then some.
8 - Ricky gets rekilled
Best Corpse: I gotta go with the machete to the face. It's a nice, gruesome kill, and the twitching gets me every time.
Blood Type - D: Most points are going for Ricky's burn makeup, and a few other moments, like Frisk's mangled skull.
Sex Appeal: Nudity and sex here and there.
Drink Up! every time you can make out the dialogue.
Video Nasties: I've gone on and on and on with the terrible audio, so here's a clip showing just how bad it is.
Movie Review: Okay, when I can piece the plot together, uh, there's not much there, and it's a jumbled mess. I get the gist, a story with a dead boyfriend watching over his beloved and killing people who upset him or for revenge. But the rules are unclear. The whys are unclear. The movie seems like they kept going back to film more stuff, and the additions don't match up with the older ideas. This is an okay idea for a character, with zero story, and too many ideas, that never come together. The acting could be worse, and if they worked on this a little more, it could be something. Two out of five motorbikes.
Entertainment Value: Sigh. I feel like this COULD be fun. The randomness is random and weird. Ricky is an interesting character, and they could do stuff with him, but his motivations and reasons and hows are a mess (Is it because he's a manifestation of Brittney's *sic* Kinetic Nightmares, or is he a ghost, or a Freddy, or what?) and IF I COULD HEAR A DAMNED THING I might enjoy it more. Because while that is fun to make fun of, it is frustrating as HELL. Still, there's a lot of fun I find here, but not great. Three out of five music boxes.