DREAM SCENARIO (2023) Reviews of Nicolas Cage surrealist nightmare movie

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‘Meet the man of your dreams’
Dream Scenario is a 2023 American surrealist dark comedy horror satire about a hapless man who finds himself appearing in strangers’ dreams.

Written, directed and edited by Kristoffer Borgli (Sick of Myself). Produced by Ari Aster (Midsommar; Hereditary), Tyler Campellone, Jacob Jaffke and Lars Knudsen.

The movie stars Nicolas Cage (Sympathy for the Devil; Renfield; The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent; The Old Way; Willy’s Wonderland; The Color of Space; Vampire’s Kiss), Julianne Nicholson, Dylan Baker, Kate Berlant, Michael Cera, Dylan Gelula and Tim Meadows.


Paul Matthews (Nicolas Cage), is a listless family man and tenured professor with an affinity for evolutionary biology and anxiety regarding his own anonymity. One day, he discovers he has begun to appear in other people’s dreams at an exponential rate. As in life, his presence in these dreams is banal and non-intrusive – he’s simply there, staring indifferently at the fantasies and nightmares of strangers.

Nonetheless, he becomes an overnight celebrity and is soon showered with the attention he has long been denied. But when Paul encounters a dreamer whose visions of him differ substantially from the norm, he finds himself grappling with the Faustian bargain of fame as his dream selves start inexplicably becoming violent within their respective subconsciousness…


Release date:
Dream Scenario premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September 2023.
In the US, A24 will release Dream Scenario on November 10, 2023, with a Canadian release a week later.

“Borgli is solely interested in how Paul feels about this whole ordeal and making the audience understand what it’s like to be suddenly judged for something that’s not representative of you. The result is a funny, accurate, and troubling portrayal of our fickle culture for celebrities today. As gut-bustingly hilarious as it is, it is undeniably a cautionary tale on how easily we fabricate things in our minds and transform them into reality when enough people believe in it.” Grade: A- Awards Watch

“Though Dream Scenario is not without its foibles, Borgli’s lens has a lot to say about modern social tendencies but is not able to do complete justice to all of them, sometimes grazing powerful ideas but not fully clutching them on the route to its less-than-fulfilling conclusion—one that digs a hole it struggles to get out of. Nonetheless, Borgli’s second outing is an indelibly creative venture that will only get better with time, primed to be a cult classic as the world continues to be terminally online.” 8.5 out of 10, But Why Tho?

“If you are similar to the brand that the distributor has built, there is a good chance that you will be able to anticipate the overall feel and quality of Kristoffer Borgli’s film. Visually it looks great, with warm fall tones and harsh winter colors creating a rich, beautiful landscape. Bolstered by a great performance by Nicolas Cage, he carries Dream Scenario across the finish line even when the script begins to drag during its runtime.” ★★★½ Discussing Film

“In a lot of ways, Dream Scenario film wants to be a horror-tinged Tár, weaving in threads about cancel culture in between evocative, and often extremely frightening, dream sequences. And while its digs at how PR teams shamelessly scramble to patch up shattered images are quite funny, I’m not sure we need another narrative about how to redeem “bad” men at this particular moment.” ★★★½ Dread Central

“Splitting the difference between tragedy and satire, Borgli takes this educated fool as a symptom of an ugliness in modern times, fitting from a filmmaker whose last feature followed a woman rotting the skin off of her body for clout. Here, the deformities are those of character, a moral slippage that doubles as a warning softened by the ludicrous levities. No one can thrive when they’re living for exposure.” ★★★★ The Guardian


” …Cage and Borgli make for a comedy dream team, spurring each other on to edgier extremes while never losing sight of the cautionary target at which the film so wickedly takes aim. Also serving as his own editor, Borgli keeps the crazy energy percolating with playful jump cuts and soundbite-sized flashbacks […] you’ll be unable to take your eyes off Cage, whose self-pitying nebbish attempts to wrestle an ounce of control back into his runaway existence are pure comedy gold.” The Hollywood Reporter

“A bit at the end plays out like a skit from SNL and is perhaps a little too on the nose. But otherwise, this is pretty sophisticated. Dream Scenario is a clever social satire that should do wonders for Cage’s indie cred. Along with Pig, it’s evidence that when Cage gets the proper role, nobody’s better, and while this might be more overtly hilarious than some were expecting, given how it was initially teased, it’s entertaining and oh-so timely.” 7 out of 10, JoBlo

“Boasting a premise that the film could have easily gone overboard with on paper, it doesn’t lose itself and remains restrained, running at around the 100-minute mark. Centered around dreams, it sets its sights on cancel culture and groupthink and that connection works. Hilarious, touching, and sometimes tense and scary, it is a journey, to say the least, but it is one worth taking.” 92% Keith Loves Movies

Dream Scenario is a lot of things, most among them showcasing an incredible Nic Cage performance […] The humour is derived from the absolutely bonkers premise and the even more outrageous situations that arise from it. Those beats are played for comedy, while there’s a more sadder undertone to them as well. And other times, it’s just straight-up awkward and uncomfortable.” 8.8 out of 10, The Movie Blog

“Nicolas Cage once again shows the courage to be ugly and shows one of his funniest performances in Kristoffer Brogli’s darkly humorous US debut. Even when it’s about appearing in other people’s dreams, Brogli grounds his film in reality, which leads to many absurd situations and becomes a biting commentary against celebrity culture and cancel culture. A nightmare for Cage’s Paul, a humorous dream scenario for the audience – despite a weak third act.” 5 out of 6, Out Now [translated from German]

“Comparisons will be drawn from Dream Scenario to Charlie Kaufman’s work, but Borgli’s script is much more straightforward, and I wanted it to really get weird, especially in the final act. I’m also not convinced the film isn’t just using the idea of cancel culture instead of actually saying something about it. Having said that, this is a fun movie with a fantastic lead performance.” RogerEbert.com

“Throughout Dream Scenario, Borgli clearly has numerous targets in his satirical sights, from cancel culture to corporate influencer lifestyle (a late-film gag about “dreamfluencers” is spot on). Yet while consistently amusing, it doesn’t seem like Borgli ultimately has much to say about any of this, making the film’s critiques seem rather unfocused and slight. One can gradually sense his struggle to figure out how to wrap up the delirious house of mirrors that he’s built…” ★★★ out of ★★★★ Slant

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Technical specs:
1 hour 46 minutes

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