Dream Cruise (2007)

DVD Cover (Anchor Bay)
Genres: Horror, Supernatural Horror
Absolutely terrified of the sea, an American lawyer reluctantly goes on an ocean cruise to be near the wife of a client, with no idea of the grim situation that awaits them all. --IMDb
Norio Tsuruta Norio Tsuruta
Daniel Gillies Daniel Gillies
Thom Irvine Thom Irvine
Ethan Amis Ethan Amis
Maky Soler Maky Soler
Tiffany Martin Tiffany Martin
Movie Connections:
Masters Of Horror: Season 2
> The Damned Thing (2006)
> Family (2006)
> The V Word (2006)
> Pro-Life (2006)
> Sounds Like (2006)
> Pelts (2006)
> The Screwfly Solution (2006)
> Valerie On The Stairs (2006)
> Right To Die (2007)
> We All Scream For Ice Cream (2007)
> The Black Cat (2007)
> The Washingtonians (2007)
> Dream Cruise (2007)

5.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: December 10, 2007
The second season of Masters of Horror was a mixed bag to say the very least; you had a couple of great episodes, a handful of awful episodes, and a depressingly-large amount of episodes that just sort of sat there in the middle. Dream Cruise, the final episode of the season, is one of those episodes that doesn't really fall under either of those two extremes, but considering that it was the season closer and all, I have to say that I was a little more disappointed than I would have been had this just been one of the middle episodes. I blame Takashi Miike for that one; after all, Imprint, the last season-ending episode, was nothing short of amazing, and with this being the traditional "end the season with an Asian horror from a big name" entry, I was really looking forward to being floored once again... and it never happened.

The storyline for this one is fairly simple, and on paper, it holds a hell of a lot more potential than what we actually get from it. It centers around Jack Miller (Daniel Gillies), an American businessman who is living in Japan to take care of various projects or something along those lines (it isn't explained, but it isn't very important either - suffice it to say that he's there on business). During the opening scenes of the film, we also learn three very important facts about this man: one, he has an extremely important client in Eiji (Ryo Ishibashi), two, he's having an affair with Eiji's wife Yuri (Yoshino Kimura), and three, he's terrified of open water due to a traumatic experience as a child. These three things will come together when Eiji asks Jack to accompany him on a cruise out on the open ocean, as it seems that Eiji isn't exactly oblivious to the fact that his wife has been screwing a foreigner. What this man has in mind for Jack may be the least of his concerns, however, as there are some ghostly events taking place out in the middle of the ocean.

As previously mentioned, this is a good plot and could have been extremely interesting in the right hands, but sadly, it turned out to be a bit of a letdown. The main problem here isn't so much the film itself, as it was pretty effective when viewed on its own merits and without comparison to other films. However, after having sat through countless Asian films over the years, watching this was sort of like watching a grab-bag of Asian horror clichés; you've got the long, tangled hair popping up out of nowhere, the revenge subplot, the ghosts, the unnatural mannerisms and movements of said ghosts, and of course, a long-winded ending which comes complete with flashbacks to explain the revenge aspect of things. Again, this would be damned good taken on its own, but even if your exposure to Asian horror is limited to the American Ring and Grudge remakes, there will be moments where you'll catch yourself thinking "Hey, I've seen that before." If you've seen as many of these Asian films as I have, well... be prepared for a lot of monotony.

There are moments of true inspiration to be found here, however, and there are a couple of scenes which are downright terrifying. I was particularly impressed with the "religious" scene found towards the end (it has nothing to do with religion, but that's the best way to describe it without spoiling it), and there's a scene that takes place inside a cramped bathroom that is very well done. Speaking of cramped enclosures, director Norio Tsuruta does a superb job of setting an extremely claustrophobic atmosphere on this small boat by using the lights and the walls to his advantage. Yes, there are some great scenes in here, but you have to get through a lot of "seen that before" moments to get to them. This is made even sadder by the fact that Tsuruta has a handful of amazing films under his belt (with Premonition coming in towards the top of that list), so I'm guessing that the lesson here is that Asian directors should just do their own thing and quit trying to make films for American audiences. That also goes for you, Mr. Hideo Nakata.

Dream Cruise is a bit of a disappointment not because of what it was, but because of what it could have been. The basis for a classic horror film is here, but sadly, Tsuruta decided to play it safe and stick with the traditional clichés instead of molding this into the great film that it could have been. It's not a terrible film, don't get me wrong, but it's nothing amazing either. 6/10.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 12/11/2007, 12:04 PM
Eh. The Masters of Horror series has gotten so lame. This is a perfect example of that lameness. 3/10.
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