If this is what Stephen King movies have disintegrated into, then its time to pull the plug.Dont get me wrong, some film adaptations of the popular writer have worked (The Shining, Misery, and The Shawshank Redemption come to mind). But this latest film is so painstakingly awful that it makes previous King films like Graveyard Shift and The Lawnmower Man look like The Pianist. Call me crazy, but when Im watching a film, I at least want to have a clue as to what is going on.Dreamcatcher centers around four childhood friends (Jason Lee, Thomas Jane, Damian Lewis and Timothy Olyphant) who reunite for a camping trip that becomes a deadly battle to thwart an alien invasion.While that would be simple enough, the film takes a lot of time piecing together other events that are supposed to cleverly tie into the main story. The film opens with the four men troubled in their own way, trying to deal with some dark secret from their past that isnt revealed early on.Then the film flashes back to the friends helping a mentally handicapped kid who may or may not be what he seems. It only muddles the reasoning for why these guys are troubled, instead of actually clearing things up.And just when youre trying to digest what this has to do with the film, along comes another subplot about a government officer (Morgan Freeman) who has gone over the edge after years of chasing aliens.Then the film goes completely insane, and disgusting, as the alien attack begins, including Tremors-like bugs called crap weasels and an alien that takes over the body of one of the four friends and starts to sound a lot like that butler from Joe Millionaire.This all adds up to a mess of epic proportions. There was a lot of head scratching done by this critic during the film (considering the film is nearly two and half hours long, there was plenty of time to head scratch). Im still trying to figure out exactly what about the script made Lawrence Kasdan agree to direct. Kasdan has developed a solid career with such films as The Big Chill, The Accidental Tourist and Mumford, so I was completely puzzled why he would attach his name to this project.The cast tries to slide out without losing respectability. Many are killed quickly or, in the case of Donnie Wahlberg, unrecognizable, but not everyone escapes with their dignity intact.Normally, I look forward to an appearance by Morgan Freeman, but after one scene of embarrassing dialogue I was ready to get rid of him, too.About the only positive thing I can say about the film is that the 10 minute Animatrix feature attached to the front of the film was somewhat entertaining. At least I enjoyed it.Thats more than I can say for the mess of a feature presentation. I realize its only March, but I think I can safely say that Dreamcatcher has assured itself a spot on my list as the one of the worst films of 2003. Sportswriter/movie reviewer Micheal Compton can be reached by e-mailing mcompton@bgdailynews.com. But dont be surprised when your phone rings, and the caller says simply, Seven days… Oops, wrong movie.DreamcatcherStarring: Morgan Freeman, Jason LeeDirector: Lawrence KasdanRating: R for violence, gore, languagePlaying at: Great Escape 12Grade: F

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