Well, this is certainly a movie that was made and it has characters in it. I'm relatively certain about those things. Everything else though... Well, those things are up in the air. The title of this movie is appropriate. Most of the movie is very dreamlike and incredibly weird. Dreamland is directed by James P. Lay, written by James P. Lay, Kenny Saylors, and Kyle Saylors, and stars Jackie Kreisler, Shane Elliot, and Jonathan Breck.
I had actually first seen this movie not long after it came out three or four years ago when I was binging on every type of horror movie I could find. I watched this, cocked my head to one side, narrowed my eyes, and proceeded to not understand. The movie certainly stayed with me, probably because of its more nonsensical nature compared to many other movies that I watched at the same time. Sure, some of the movies were strange, Reeker stands out, as does a Japanese film that I can't remember the name of that revolves around the apocalypse or a quarantine or something... but this film was one of the last ones that I watched during that binge and I did not understand much of it. Honestly I even forgot its name entirely in the ensuing years, having it only come back to me when I actively sought to find this movie and stumbled upon a description that read, "This movie has Hitler propaganda playing on the radio and also Hitler... and it's a modern day horror film involving Area 51." I'm paraphrasing, but not by much. I instantly said to myself, "Yes, that is the film I have been hunting for these last two years!" Then I proceeded to find it and watch it again, for this blog, and for the people, you people, you crazy, creepy, weird, and somehow incredibly awesome people, who somehow, through no fault of my own, found this blog and have either read simply this one article or many others. I went and did this for you, and I feel that everybody should be grateful for this.
I've heard and seen a lot of people get to this blog by searching what particular movies mean, or their interpretations, and maybe I haven't done as much interpreting as I should have been. I may even go back and interpret and reassess some of the denser or harder to understand movies that I have watched. The Objective stands out as a weird one that nobody really seems to understand. Well, call this an experiment. In addition to reviewing this movie, I will also attempt, to the best of my ability, to interpret meanings out of it. I do this for my literate audience, as well as for myself, because this review will not be possible for me to do without heavy interpretation on my side. There is this caveat that I will put out here though: This is all purely subjective on my part. I have no idea what the filmmaker and the writers intended for this movie. I am only going by what I've taken in through this film medium. If you disagree, I will heartily listen to what you think even if it does not change my opinion. If you have seen the movie and agree, let me know. So, this is an experiment, but, I believe, one that is with merit. I will try my damnedest to parse this movie, even if that means that I have to rip it apart and put it back together again.
So, here goes nothing.
So, the first scene starts out dreamlike. The clown doll's eyes move. Music sounds almost like an organ, church music? It's Nevada, 1973. Snowglobe in the man's hand, light from a UFO or simply a flashlight? Yells “get down!”? it seems, but the snowglobe doesn't break when it falls from his hand. Music is pretty decent to start off with. Intro sequence is reminiscent of a very science fiction type of media. Hyperspace from Star Wars or the whole thing that Doctor Who does.
Then a girl wakes up after dreaming about the title sequence. She seems a little freaked out. I would be too if I were traveling around hyperspace with names floating through the ether (or lack thereof). Her boyfriend is foaming at the mouth (Literally). He's having a seizure. It's now Present Day.
“You didn't touch me, right?” “Of course not.” I guess you're not supposed to touch people having seizures? The lamp is on the floor from the seizure. Girl is younger and certainly not terrible looking. She's in sleep clothes. Takes some pills. More than one kind. And then she smokes. She's not supposed to smoke. Hiding it from her boyfriend. They have to drive to her family's house (Foster Family). The sound effects of the rain are pretty decent and where I'm watching this right now, the power seems to be twitchy, so it's making the movie even more effective. Sweet little scene as they cuddle.
They're driving across the desert. Girl wakes up suddenly again with a gasp. Dylan=the boyfriend. Nevada. Megan=the girl. Plot device and bad acting of talking about the car not being in great condition. Government auction to buy "forty year old piece of shit car." She bought it. He's a dick. Girl in white behind a tree in the desert. Not her parents they're visiting but her foster parents. He wants to gamble because he's a dick. “We're FUCKing broke!” Why are they together when they seem to hate one another? Ah, he's a funny jerk who also seems to be a narcissist by calling himself extremely attractive. Well, at least she laughs and lightens up a bit.
They're still driving. She makes an ugly face for some reason and falls asleep. She dreams of some very obvious sci-fi imagery and a girl in white. And a face. Gasps awake again. “Are you okay?” Look, dude she's not... Oh, she's hungry. Suddenly it goes from the middle of the day to nighttime. Nevada isn't that big, no way that it should... well, maybe, I guess. I don't freaking live in Nevada, but I've driven out west before. Eight hours or so across the whole of Nebraska, longways. I don't think Nevada is wider at any point than Nebraska is at its widest. It's weird is what I'm saying.
The cinematography is good here though, at least. I like how the cool old black car blends into the darkness with only its lights showing. Why does old black car have electric windows? Or is there something about old, black cars that I don't understand? Did cars 40 years ago have power windows? I should ask that of somebody who knows cars.
Okay... I just looked it up with my limited knowledge of automobiles... it looks like they did exist. I'm... kind of impressed actually. The first ones started to become decently prominent in the 1940s or so.
Dog with alien headband. Little AleInn. Bar full of dudes staring at Megan. All of them look fairly rural in nature. Younger and working class. Hat that says BEER in red letters. I can appreciate that. Nice older music, a 1950s styled bar, I assume. Uh...with aliens. OR ALEINNS. Bartender or... uh... the dude who runs the food... cafe... drinkin' and eatin' place! He seems nice enough. Yelling into the back, kind of awesome. Time warp theory? I'm interested since I hate time travel and abhor any mention of it in fiction because I think it is improperly handled constantly, but sure, nice bartender man, I would love to hear your very obviously intelligent theory on time warps. (Let's do the Time Warp!) You must know everything, being a tobacco eating bartender... oh no... wait, I'M JUDGING BOOKS BY THEIR COVERS! Groom Lake=Area 51. Roswell, NM 1947- UFO crash.
The Grays Dylan makes a hideous joke. Dylan's a jerk. “The day it crashed, the papers reported it as a flying saucer.” “I love beer.” (Thank you, BEER hat man. I love you. You deserve all the Oscars.) Crashed Weather balloon. NO WEATHER BALLON, y'hear? Anti-matter proportion bullshit. Time Warp theory. (Let's do the Time Warp again!)
Fantastic. Papoose Lake- get people to travel back and forth in time. Blake=bartender. Glen=BEER. Dylan=Jerk. Glen calls Megan "Topheavy" (I can see it.) and makes a fairly sexual innuendo. Dylan is not happy about this development. Megan throws some amber liquid in Glen's face. I... uh... think it's... BEER? But I have no idea why he's wincing in pain. Blake stops them before they get into a fight. Locals don't like visitors and Glen is going to do something to their car. Thunderstorm over the mountains. He's about to slash their tire when he gets abducted by a bright white light of thunder. (Let's do the Time Warp!)
DIS? Blake finds Glen's knife and a rapidly running away bunch of clouds and... seems unsurprised? Truck pulls up. Department of Internal Security. Blake gets weird around Megan for some reason. NO clue why. He was just talking to her fine then suddenly he's Bashy McBashful. Blake talks about the DIS as people step out of the truck onto cigarette. Ominous much?
They walk out of restaurant. Government agents? A flash that Megan points out. Blake talks to the Government agents, but it makes little to no sense. “Pretty dead.” “Funny.” “Have you seen 'em?” These seem relevant, but I can't see how right now. Music is odd in the entire scene. It doesn't quite fit. It's a little too silly. This scene never makes any sense and I have no idea why it's in the film at all.
Driving scene. I like how they start filming it. The dark road at night is reminiscent of Lost Highway. I like that. They don't have much chemistry, these two. Their very flat towards one another, like they barely know each other. Dylan's still a jerk. Megan has rage issues. REAL BAD RAGE ISSUES. Dylan's just a jerk. I guess I can't blame her. He doesn't care. You're a jerk, Dylan. Oh no, they're screaming at each other and he just pointed out her rage issues. Well, she is constantly yelling at her jerk of a boyfriend. Starts playing music, but the radio sucks and it hits weird static and then Hitler's speech to the 1936 Olympic games. Why do both characters act so dumb?
OH NO. Car dies. Does this girl get angry about everything? She's a... I'm not even going to say. THIS BLOG IS PG RATED. Dylan is an idiot and a jerk. Wonderful... I think Megan is supposed to be the smarter of the two, but... uh... she kind of sounds like a ditz. It's hard to take her seriously, and the acting is not... well, it's not pleasant to watch. The yelling is pretty well done though. Dylan gets pissed and Megan gets all naggy... and then... a sound comes from behind the car. I like some of the shots here. It's kind of suspenseful. And then somebody bangs on the car and they run and scream. Not terrible. They run and Dylan faints and has a seizure. Car turns on as Megan tries to help Dylan. Tries to run them down. Car door opens as Hitler plays in the background. Backs up as Megan runs away leaving Dylan behind.
A voice calls out her name as “Crazy” by Patsy Cline plays in the background. The shots are really strange, changing perspectives as something says and calls out her name. Little girl calls out her name and then she sees the girl in the white dress. (Little girls are not scary.) Dylan wakes up to find car over him. Door opens as undead Hitler (YES YES YES YES YES THIS IS WHAT I NEED MORE OF IN MY LIFE) says his speech and drives the car after the fleeing Dylan, who flees right into the desert.
Megan at abandoned construction site? Why is she yelling for Dylan? She left him behind to die, remember? I remember. She doesn't seem to remember. Stop being stupid, Megan! Oh no, it's the husk of a building and blood from Glen AND his rockin' BEER hat. RIP BEER hat. Stuff starts shaking after she sees Glen's body above her, dripping blood. Crazy bespectacled older dude is watching her kind of obviously. What's he doing watching her? She runs.
Guy is near a truck talking in a weird whispering kind of voice, calling for a medic for help. His leg is gone. He looks kind of like he's made of lights and tubes and from a television. It's hard to explain. It's similar to the transmission people from the 1408 movie. He sees Megan and asks for her help, but she freaks out and gets out of there. Another shadow, unseen, comes up to army man. Rachel is the little white dress girl. She confronts Megan and asks her name. Megan doesn't believe it's real, then meets up with Hitler calling out her name. “Megan, you are not who you are.” I think that's the line. Dylan's a jerk even when looking for his girlfriend. Dude, you're not getting any sympathy from me.
AREA 51. That is all.
Rachel appears again scaring Megan and the clouds come for Dylan. Bad, bad special effects. Like The Objective bad. Flashlight still flashes, but Dylan just got vaporized. He's now anti-Dylan or A-Dylan. You can tell because he looks more serious and less like he's going to call her a raging witch constantly. His voice has weird inflections. Like an alien. He's phonebooking it. AND then he glows... oh, boy... this is a hard movie to get through... It's not exactly pleasant to watch... plus, at this point the whole thing is kind of straightforward so far. Yes, there are some weird and kooky things, but there's nothing happening that we have an obvious explanation for yet except for the "Time Shenanigans!" response.
Oh, now he's not glowing anymore. He must have pushed the off switch. This isn't Dylan; he's not being the biggest jerk! Can't you see that, woman? She starts freaking out like a crazy person where he is perfectly calm. I have no idea which character I'm supposed to be on the side of. Am I supposed to be thinking that she is the protagonist? Or Anti-Dylan? She gets in the car. Then he drives the car away and does some crazy time shenanigans. Wait, I thought he knew nothing about cars... Why would she believe that he could fix anything? Especially in a car that was turned on by something inexplicable.
No... Megan's just stupid.
The radio makes some weird noises and Megan looks like she's about to freak out again. Her previously jerkish boyfriend tries to calm her down. Elvis is on the radio? Moving through time? She doesn't know that Elvis is dead. But Elvis isn't on the radio. It's that same song from before. They pull up to the diner again, but it's locked and closed. Megan's twitchy like a drug addict. Blake answers.
Megan has meds because of strange dreams. A-Dylan is supposed to be evil the way he stares at Blake. Ah, Rachel, Nevada is represented by the little girl in the white dress named Rachel. Or she's named after it... or it after her? I have no idea. I think the former.
Dream sequence. And now she realizes that Dylan is an idiot who doesn't know how to work on cars. She takes a cigarette. Hat on top of an alien plushie is called “Blake” and Megan starts freaking out again. She then sees a donation bucket for the Rachel's eighth birthday and an article with the little girl named Rachel that she saw. Rachel is Blake's sister and she's “been gone a long time.” She then sees his apron which says “Dreamland” on it after quickly speaking about her issues or lack thereof, and she asks Blake about Dreamland and the lights go out. A-Dylan's gone. Blake goes to check on the circuit breaker. Megan runs off. She hides in the truck of the government men, while Blake fixes the circuit breaker. Somebody pulls on the truck door that Megan's hiding in and then scares her with a fake alien mask. It's a kid messing with tourists.
Seriously? Movie, you just pulled that? I can't even take you seriously after that BS.
Blake drinks and the radio changes. Same song as twice before. A-Dylan is behind Blake suddenly asking where Megan is. A-Dylan is no longer behind Blake as he turns around. Kind of creepy. She's hiding and A-Dylan finds her. She's... uh... not good at hiding... at all. They drive away again. A-Dylan is jerk-lite. I kind of like him more than regular Dylan. He even has a sweet moment with her as he says "You know I love you, right?", but she doesn't answer him.
Oh no, he's lying to her because he said with hyperbole that they could make it to Maine on one tank of gas! He's obviously an imposter and up to no good... even though he's arguably a better person who is no longer an absolute jerk to her. She hasn't even raised her voice once to him. But no, the car is on full and he's a transparent liar and EVIL EVIL EVIL. Obviously.
And she catches him with his not hating cigarettes like Dylan does. Yes, now that he allows you to do what you want, he must obviously be the worst person in existence. No key in the ignition either. This guy is magic, so much better than the real Dylan, and you're complaining? What the hell is he going to do? He hasn't done anything wrong! He hasn't even tried to hurt you! If anything, he's been a perfect gentleman who seriously loves you. What is wrong with you, Megan?
Well, she attacks him (EVIL EVIL), he turns glowy and stops her and she screams. A glowy-eyed man steps out into the road. A-Dylan stops the car and Megan runs into the desert yet again. Glowy-eyed man looks into car, but sees no A-Dylan.
Hitler talks to Megan again, telling her that he knows who she is. She meets the army man again. Her flashlight goes out. And she sees Rachel again who tells her to follow her. She finds a house and some articles. Dreamland, government experimenting with time travel. Parallel universes. Eye color changes. Missing persons, government agents. Disappeared people. The astrophysicist's house. He took a picture of her and Dylan. She's hiding from him as he comes into his own house. She runs out and her phone rings with no service. It's Rachel calling to tell her A-Dylan's behind her.
“There's nothing out there for you except a dream you can't wake up from.” "There's no such thing as time.” “There's no such thing as this place.” “There's no such thing as you.” “Megan's a figment of her own imagination.” These are all delivered by A-Dylan and they are the best of the movie. It's probably the best scene in the entire movie. Creepy and mostly well done.
Blake and A-Dylan stare off at one another as Blake inexplicably shows up where Megan and A-Dylan are... somehow... A-Dylan disappears like he first appeared and Blake asks Megan to come with him. She follows. They end up at a badly CGIed place... kind of like a plane with some kind of symbol on it. She says that she's scared and Blake leaves telling her that she'll be okay. Then she's called Rachel by the astrophysicist, who was at the beginning of the movie. He walks to her. “I loved you.” Okay? I guess he doesn't love her anymore?
Montage of her being hinted at being a different person. RACHEL. SHE's RACHEL. That was so obvious that it sickens me.
Then the flashback from the beginning of the movie plays with the lights through the window being government men. Then Dr. Niedlander disappears. And Dylan is a government man who finds the baby Megan/Rachel. “I know who you are.”
I... I don't even... I don't even know where to begin. Without the ending this could be a simple parallel universes/time travel movie, but the ending literally confuses me to no end. I assume she (Rachel/Megan) goes back in time and instead of disappearing she stays with her family? Or is it that the baby Rachel dreamed everything up, including her being with Dylan? Is that why there is no sexual content, because babies don't know what sex is? Maybe that's why she sleeps so much too? Or is she remembering everything about her childhood and baby-life (You can't remember that far back. It's scientifically impossible to have those memories.) and remembering them as she meets her father? I mean, I assume at this point that people taken in the light either cease to exist, are replaced by a parallel universe counterpart, or exist later on as just figments of character's imaginations or some such thing. Why Dylan appears to the baby Rachel at the end of the movie is incredibly confusing for me. I have no idea why that happens. Was he brought back in time by the light and clouds time warp (Let's do the Time Warp Again!) and replaces one of the agents? Does that change history because he knows that Rachel and Megan are the same person? Does he know that?
Okay, here are the facts: time travel and time warps are involved. Megan and Rachel are the same person. Blake is her brother and Dr. Niedlander is her father. Dylan may or may not be Megan's boyfriend. Since the movie ends with Dr. Niedlander's disappearance and Rachel doesn't disappear until she's eight, does that mean that history will repeat itself? Blake told A-Dylan "Not this time." or something like that in regards to repeating stuff. Does that mean that somehow Blake or Megan/Rachel prevented everything? Does Megan still exist or is she officially the baby now?
Part of the problem with this film is that we as the audience are not given enough information to even start bringing out credible theories, never mind hair-brained ones. This movie is never good enough, put together well enough, shot well enough, or written well enough to make sense on anything but the most cursory of levels. Thinking about the film and trying to put it together is incredibly difficult if not impossible because important puzzle pieces are missing to this already very short film.
My interpretation isn't exactly bold or even right at all. I think the film either showed an alternate timeline/universe with Megan in it being fostered and having Dylan as a boyfriend... for some reason... but it explains so little. Why does he have seizures? Why does she have flashbacks to Dylan's face from when she's a baby if he didn't exist back then at all? And if he did exist back then, then what the hell is he going out with her for? He doesn't seem to remember stuff and he freaks out and acts normal like she does. I'm nitpicking now instead of interpreting.
The only explanation that makes sense is that the entire movie is from the baby Rachel's point of view... somehow from that five minute ending clip. She takes all that information and extrapolates a story onto it. It's a dumb theory, but it's literally the one that fits Occam's Razor the best. It is the simplest explanation that takes the least amount of thought or words to describe. Yes, I could go on a rant about time travel and parallel universes, but... we know of so little about that stuff that we can't extrapolate a plot from that... and maybe that's the real explanation here.
Maybe this movie is supposed to be convoluted and impossible to understand to mirror that time travel itself is infinitely complex and impossible for us to comprehend. Maybe this movie is just playing off of what we expect. Maybe it literally is the most complex explanation imaginable and we're meant to not have the information to explain it. That would be both ballsy and awesome on the filmmakers' parts. I would respect that. I doubt it's the case because the writing in here isn't that good by any means, but if that explanation is the real one, my liking of this movie grew exponentially.
Oh, or the story could be all about a troubled young woman who starts seeing things and getting paranoid and then running off into the desert and dying. I guess that's an explanation too... especially with all of the references to her dreams, her medications, and her very obvious issues. I guess it's an alternate explanation... if you don't like my others.
So, a tiny wrap-up here: this is not a movie I would recommend to anybody. It mostly isn't very good. It isn't scary. It doesn't use any science. It feels like scenes, especially running in the desert scenes are recycled and revisited time and time again, and frankly for a movie that is only a little more than an hour long, it feels incredibly long. Nothing really happens. The character's are underdeveloped and with little to actually like about them except BEER hat man (and only for his BEER hat) and Blake, who seems like a decent sort of fellow. The main two characters never feel real. They never felt like they should have even been together. The pacing is all off. The plot is literally incomprehensible. And besides a few jump scares and suspenseful moments (and undead Hitler), the movie doesn't even offer any really great atmospheric moments.
Altogether, I have no idea why this film was made. I have no idea what its purpose is or was supposed to be, and in the end it all falls very flat. I guess if my play-by-play descriptions of the movie aren't enough for you then you should check it out, but they should be. Be warned about this movie. It's not bad, but I guarantee you'll have a bad taste in your mouth by its ending.