This week's VHS is Nick Kazan's 1993 erotic thriller Dream Lover.
After successful architect Ray (James Spader) falls in love with the seemingly perfect Lena (Mädchen Amick), he begins to suspect she may not be who she says she is.
This movie was a blast and wholly indicative of the thrillers that were coming out at this point in the nineties. I won't get into this genre's long sordid history, but I recall 1981's Body Heat really kicking off the whole explicit thriller – Brian De Palma had been dabbling with it, but women rarely played a central part in his narratives – but the flood gates didn't open until Adrian Lyne's Fatal Attraction in 1987. Then it seemed like a new title hit the shelves every week during my video store tenure.
My main question coming away from this movie is; “has there ever been a more beautiful creature than Mädchen Amick?” She set the screen on fire here and was one of several actresses who spent the mid-nineties erasing their good girl image – in her case built up in her stints on Twin Peaks and Sleepwalkers – and running chest first into some smut. God bless her.
While most of it follows a fairly predictable nineties thriller arc, I must admit that Dream Lover definitely offered up one of the more dour and abrupt conclusions. I was actually shocked to find that writer Kazan was happily married (and still is to this day) with two kids because the script did not strike me as scribbled down by someone who liked, or at least trusted, women. Then again, who knows where this shit comes from? I'm willing to bet the son of Elia Kazan saw some shit growing up.
In addition to seeing a LOT of Amick - it was the “special sexy unrated version” after all - I got to watch James Spader spade it up, so there was really no downside here. Dream Lover was trashy to be sure and maybe not as well put together as say, one of my personal faves, John Dahl's The Last Seduction, but it's hella entertaining and did I mention Mädchen Amick is hot AF?