Dream Scenario (2023)

1h 42m / R / Comedy, Horror

Nicolas Cage is a nondescript evolutionary biology professor named Paul Matthews, who suddenly appears in the dreams of his students, daughters, and people he does not know. He doesn’t do anything in their recurring nighttime hallucinations of anxiety or horror, in which people sometimes float into the air or the world collapses. He more or less just strolls through the background in his sweater and glasses, sometimes flashing his dopey, pleasant smile. Paul soon becomes a phenomenon. And rapidly thereafter becomes a pariah when everyone’s dreams co-starring Paul become violent.

It’s been a while since Hollywood was comfortable putting a significant budget behind a performance-based, surreal movie like Dream Scenario. Names of directors like Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) and Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Be Kind Rewind) keep popping up in the reviews. But several reviewers have also called it one of the best performances of Cage’s career, so we can only be grateful this odd unicorn of a film has been given space to graze on today’s filmic landscape.