Thrillers and James Spader are two of my favorite things, but they do not come together harmoniously in Dream Lover. The film’s director, Nicholas Kazan, seemed to be more interested in making this a chic, sexy movie instead of a genuine psychological thriller and that was a bad move on his part. Many thrillers, especially those in the early 90s, have sexual elements that enhance their appeal, but something went terribly wrong with this one. Dream Lover isn’t a well-balanced film, but it was sort of enjoyable because it was so crappy (hence the Camp Stamp).
Ray Reardon (James Spader) is a successful businessman that becomes instantly attracted to Lena Mathers (Mädchen Amick), a beautiful woman he meets at an art gallery. They partake in a passionate love affair and after sleeping together a few times decide to tie the knot. Of course, after marrying Lena and not knowing much about her past, Ray finds himself in a marriage filled with mystery and deception. He has recurring clown nightmares that reflect his crumbling love life and I absolutely hated them. They didn’t blend in with the rest of the film and are insanely annoying. It quickly becomes obvious that Lena is psychotic and after Ray’s money, but her plan to get her hands on his money doesn’t surface until the end of the movie. Thankfully, Kazan allows the audience to have a little bit of fun attempting to figure out Lena’s diabolical plan.
Uncovering the mystery of Lena’s scheme was a bit fun, but the film was ultimately a very unsatisfying, predictable thriller. There weren’t many surprises or unexpected twists, which are some basic components to a decent thriller. Spader was the best thing about the film because his acting was flawless (as always), but it wasn’t enough to save the film from falling into the depths of bad movie Hell.
Dream Lover is currently streaming on Netflix.