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Home | Film Reviews | Interview: Jacob Johnston (Dreamcatcher)

Interview: Jacob Johnston (Dreamcatcher)

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Hi Jacob, I really liked this movie. You really put a twist on Dreamcatcher.  How did this idea manifest for you?

J.J.- I have such a love for the genre. I think you can really explore so many different things. It’s a manifestation of saying, I want to tell a really interesting character story with the back drop of something that is slasher adjacent. I also wanted to put a classic literature spin on to it with the thematic messaging. While dealing with things like identity, loss of innocence, family, and corruption of power. It was just about finding a way to tell a story about complex characters, then you add the heightened element of a killer. It enhances and raises the stakes.

It is interesting because this cast did a great job. What was it like working with everyone?

J.J.- What’s so much fun working with an ensemble cast is, you really get to dabble in so many types of personalities. We got a giant rock star bus for all of the ensemble cast. The cast got to know each other and when I was directing them, there was a natural tendency to connect with one another. It was a lot of fun to have that trust.

How did you decide on the mask for Dylan (Travis Burns) It’s intricate and creepy but in a good way.

J.J.- You have to find a balance between something that feels creepy, but in a party setting, it would be less creepy. How do you find a design that in the right lighting it could be really creepy but in party lighting, it could be less creepy? I worked with an artist that I used to work with at Marvel, named Josh Herman. He’s an incredible artist. I wanted it to have a density to it. Then we used the actual weaving of the dreamcatcher with the center piece being the eye.

Dreamcatcher has a lot of humor and you can feel that you put your heart and soul in this movie. The movie sort of has a message to it, at least to me. Horror movies can be an escape. You dealt with mental health topics, family stuff, and even selling your soul for money and fame. Did you sort of intentionally do that when you were writing?

J.J.- Yes, horror movies are an escape. They can also be a great vehicle for social commentary for impactful messaging that you can weave in to the fabric of the narrative. The audience does feel like they’re on a ride, but they also can find ways to relate to these characters. They can share their own stories, whether its about mental health, the estrangement of a sibling or what would you do in that situation. What would be your threshold for success? How far would you go? It’s those human things that are kind of couched in this thrilling hyper-visual world. I think the self-awareness of the characters gives a moment of reprieve when you’re dealing with things that are so heavy.  It can get exhausting when you are just fighting for your life the entire time. We don’t have these small moments for the characters to connect in a human way.

Yes. The scene with Pierce and Jake watching a horror movie, in a horror movie. That was a great scene. It’s a heart and soul kind of moment.


J.J.- To be honest, that was a scene I had to kind of fight to keep in. It was originally like eight minutes long and I had to stick to my guns. We’re juxtaposing a person who loves this and another person who doesn’t love this. We really need to understand that. We need to believe that there is a history between these two characters.

What do you want to say to everyone that will be watching Dreamcatcher?

J.J.- I just hope that people have fun with it. I hope it’s surprising to them.

Thank you so much Jacob. Dreamcatcher was great.

J.J.- Thank you so much.

DREAMCATCHER is now available on Digital and On Demand. 

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