Revenge films are a staple in Hollywood. They’re classic stories where the hero avenges the death of a loved one or an otherwise grievous betrayal. The Dreamless is one such film, but instead of relying on standard vengeance beats, it takes this tried and true formula and turns it upside down.
A little more The Crow than it is Death Wish, The Dreamless adds the element of the supernatural by setting up a world where an everyday man, Marcus, played by Eric Etebari (2Fast2Furious; Witchblade) finds himself involved in an epic battle with a spellcaster for world domination.
The story begins with Marcus, a typical self-absorbed businessman, who has just recently started a new job. He spends little time with his family and far too much time focusing on making money. During a party, Marcus is slipped an amulet by his co-worker Jeff (played by Beyond the Break and Witchblade’s David Chokachi) who has discovered their boss, Andrejus intends on using it for world domination.
The villain, Andrejus (played by Witchblade actor Anthony Cistaro), is a veteran spellcaster and discovers Marcus is in possession of the amulet. He quickly sends a group of unique and frightening mercenaries to retrieve it at any cost, including murdering his family.
After the mercenaries attack, Marcus awakens to find himself in the company of Eadan (played masterfully by Reservoir Dogs’ Kirk Baltz) who has saved his life, but sadly learns that his family wasn’t so lucky. It is revealed that Eadan is also a spellcaster who has a long history with Andrejus and he agrees to train Marcus in the mystical arts so he can avenge his family’s death.
The film goes into full throttle when Andrejus discovers that Marcus is still alive and sends his supernatural henchmen after him. As he is forced to battle each strange and villainous creature, Marcus utilizes and hones his newfound powers. The fight sequences are a highlight, as they are unique and fast paced, without ever feeling like they’re dragging on too long.
But as all students of revenge films know, these are just requisite warm up battles leading Marcus to a final showdown with Andrejus, that gives the audience an extremely original, witty and satisfying ending for our hero.
The visual effects for this film are top notch, not to mention the sheer number of them. In addition, the pacing is fast and the acting is far greater than would normally be expected for this genre. And with a complex storyline, The Dreamless manages to keep the viewer interested throughout the entirety of the film.
As for the impressive onscreen talent, Eric Etebari shows he has the chops to play a leading man, as he seamlessly transitions from an everyday rat-racer to the film’s reluctant hero. Likewise, Kirk Baltz nails the role of Marcus’ mentor with subtle ease and Anthony Cistaro manages to make the villainous Andrejus a three-dimensional character, complete with an actual personality. David Chokachi shines as he injects humor and passion into his character and the beautiful Andrea Andes (Marcus’s Wife) delivers a passionate and uplifting performance.
For a film with no studio backing, The Dreamless achieves unusually high production values made evident by the vast amount of locations, superb acting and superior visual effects.
First time Writer/Director Brian Metcalf shows he has the talent and technical ability to direct and orchestrate a full length, visual effects intensive film while not relying on them to provide a captivating story. His use of visuals are extremely powerful and naturally fit with his sense of pace and storytelling abilities. Effectively produced by Metcalf and Etebari, this film proves they are a force to be reckoned with.
The Dreamless is a captivating thrill ride and all-around fun popcorn flick.