Dream Scenario (2023)

December 29th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Wri/Dir: Kristoffer Borgli | Cast: Nicolas Cage, Julianne Nicholson, Lily Bird, Jessica Clement, Dylan Baker, Michael Cera | US Psychological Horror 101′

A million miles away from his crazed roles of the recent past such as Renfield and Mandy Nicolas Cage is terrific here as an introverted professor caught up in a celebrity scandal set in Ottawa, of all places.

Written and directed by Norwegian Kristopher Brogli Dream Scenario is more of a nightmare really and not for the feint-hearted. Some may leave the cinema with a feeling of overwhelming sadness and even despair at the situation Cage finds himself in as Paul Mathews, a mild-mannered – even boring – family man.

From his humdrum existence in a leafy suburbs of some provincial university, Paul, a bearded and bedraggled biology professor married with two girls, becomes an over-night sensation – in the worst possible way – when the otherwise unremarkable man – who probably wears crocs on his days off – enters the dream lives of random individuals as their ‘bete noire’.

Desperate to gain recognition with his academic work on animal camouflage, Paul sadly only finds notoriety when his students report strange dreams where he appears, first as an innocent bystander, then as an ardent lover, and finally as belligerent presence intent on wreaking havoc in their collective subconscious. Soon, his colleagues and even ex girlfriends start to surface claiming to have been affected by these bizarre nocturnal occurrences.

With his ordinary man Borgli’s horrific surrealist fantasy leads us through a ghastly real experience of modern day America embroiled in fame, celebrity, cancel culture and even AI. This is undoubtedly Cage’s best performance in years and we really feel for Paul as he desperately tries to justify his position as a decent, hard-working human being just trying to make his way through life when he is catapulted into being both the hero and then antihero of the piece. Brilliant idea that’s a little overwrought in the final stretch. @MeredithTaylor


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