Judge Dylan Charles can't take a dream cruise. He dreams of electric sheep, and they could short-circuit if they get wet.
Their wildest dreams are your worst nightmares
Masters of Horror takes some of the top talent working the horror genre today and wrings an hour-long short out of them. Names like John Carpenter, Dario Argento, and Michael Landis have been tapped to produce some high-quality, low-budget scary.
Masters of Horror: Dream Cruise is brought to you by director Norio Tsuruta and actors Daniel Gillies (Spider-Man 2), Ryo Ishibashi (Audition), and Miho Ninagawa (M). For this outing, Masters of Horror has done things a little differently. Rather than release the original hour-long airing, they're put out the extended 90-minute version…unfortunately. The strong point of Masters of Horror is short, fun bursts of horror. Here, it just goes on.
Dream Cruise's biggest problems is its pacing. There can be a point where there's too much character development and that point is reached and surpassed. Gillies hallucinates. Gillies talks to his lady friend. Gillies goes to work. Gillies meets lady friend and client in restaurant. Character information packets are distributed around sparse wastelands of walking and taxi rides and some more walking.
And the talking. There's a great deal of talking that sounds forced and unnatural. And it's not helped along by stilted acting. Miho Ninagawa is part of the problem, but only when she's speaking English. It's not her pronunciation or accent, it's her emotional inflection. And Ryo Ishibashi is a great actor and he's one of the main reasons why Audition was as good as it was. But in Dream Cruise he's channeling vaudeville. All he needs is a large handlebar mustache to twirl and he'd be set. But once again, these problems only arise when he's speaking in English. There's just more emotion than necessary and so his speech is exaggerated.
These flaws don't do much to promote a scary atmosphere. Norio Tsuruta's boat at sea is a creepy location and there are moments of genuine eeriness, especially a scene with Ryo Ishibashi framed in darkness before things really go to hell. But it's too little too late.
Both the commentary and the making of documentary have a strong focus on the differences between American filmmaking and Japanese filmmaking. The commentary features Daniel Gillies and producer Mick Garris, and if you're interested in hearing about cultural differences between filmmakers, there's a lot here for you. Honestly, I found that more interesting than I would have found a detailed commentary about the movie.
I really would have liked to see the shorter version that originally aired. As it is here, Dream Cruise is far too long, which exacerbates its other flaws. Just go and watch Audition. And check out Ryo Ishibashi's band ARB while you're at. There's a link to it in the Accomplices.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Starz Home Entertainment
• The Making of Dream Cruise
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