Going on just the main themes of the movie, a group of troubled people in a hospital seek help through therapy sessions, all the while being haunted by a burnt man. You might think Bad Dreams is a rip off of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. Hell, even one of the actresses in that movie, is in this one. Rest assured though, once Bad Dreams starts picking up the pace, it finds it’s own groove and delivers a nice little horror film. Read on for the rest of the review…
Short nitty-gritty plot description from IMDb is as follows: In the mid-’70s, a cult group called Unity Field commits mass suicide,
but a young girl survives. After being in a coma for thirteen years she
wakes up in a psyche ward, not remembering the incident. The
psychiatrist tries to help her remember, but she begins seeing the
leader of the cult talking to her from the grave, and the other members
of her therapy group begin to commit suicide around her. Or is it
Bad Dreams at first did feel a lot like Dream Warriors, which honestly wouldn’t be a bad thing cause Dream Warriors is awesome and having the lovely Jennifer Rubin, as Cynthia, definitely made it feel more like it. Even some of the group members have similar traits to the some of the tormented children of Elm Street. Except, once you look past that, you’ll start to see that it’s not the same at all. The cult backstory, along with the “villain” of the story, Harris (Richard Lynch), was interesting and I really enjoyed the burnt makeup effects. The movie will randomly throw you some scenes of awesome gore, with one in particular involving the air system and vents in the hospital, which was gruesomely delightful. Most of the time though, the gory details aren’t shown, which is a shame. There is definitely some mystery to the plot and a few twists and turns along the way. This isn’t your typical horror story and had me laughing at a few scenes (a good thing). I thought the detective was pretty funny with his lax attitude towards some of the extreme situations, especially the ending.
The movie certainly looks nice, with several creepy scenes involving the terribly burnt Harris. The movie also has some great 80s tunes, with the awesome Sweet Child O’ Mine playing over the end credits.
Bad Dreams isn’t your typical cheese fest of the late 80s. It has an interesting story with some groovy special effects and gore (although more would’ve been better). The acting from everyone involved is great and the twists they throw your way definitely have you thinking. If you ever thought Bad Dreams was just a bad ripoff, give this movie a chance and you’ll see for yourself that it can stand on it’s own as a great 80s horror film.