The Nicolas Cage Dark Comedy That Will Leave You Terrified

By Robert Scucci | Published

If you thought that Freddy Krueger was the only menace who could show up in our dreams and bring about real-life consequences, we have two words for your consideration: Dream Scenario. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of witnessing the A24 film, you may not realize that Nicolas Cage showing up in your dreams is just as horrifying.

While the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise gets most of its scares by slashing its subjects to bits, Dream Scenario takes a much more subtle approach, but will leave you with a profound sense of unease by the time the final credits begin to roll.

Paul Matthew’s Appears In People’s Dreams

The premise for Dream Scenario film is simple yet effective. Cage’s Paul Matthews is an underachieving college professor with tenure and job security. Living a mostly uneventful but comfortable life, everything changes overnight when he starts appearing in everybody’s dreams. Much to his disappointment, his presence in everybody’s subconscious is just as uneventful as his own life, as he’s just standing in the background in most cases. But when his ex-girlfriend, Claire, decides to write a story about the dreams on her blog, Paul becomes an overnight viral sensation.

Dream Scenario Turns Into A Freddy Kreuger Nightmare

What makes Dream Scenario so unsettling is Nicolas Cage’s portrayal of Paul, who despite his overall contentment with living in obscurity, really enjoys the sudden attention he’s getting. Coming off as a caricature of Woody Allen who’s constantly on the verge of saying “gee willikers,” Paul decides to use his newfound fame to find a publisher for the book he’s been trying to write for decades. Dream Scenario’s narrative quickly shifts when everybody starts having increasingly violent dreams in which Paul brutally murders them. After a series of public humiliations, we get to witness Paul unravel in a way that could only be successfully portrayed by Nicolas Cage.

The events leading up to this subconscious shift are all equally uncomfortable, and even include an extremely awkward sexual encounter rife with flatulence that will make you have an anxiety attack on Paul’s behalf.

Nicolas Cage Delivers Superb Acting And Shows His Range

But what makes Dream Scenario truly unsettling is how the line between dreams and reality gets progressively more blurred as the plot unfolds. As the film gets into more surreal territory (like it wasn’t already there in the first place), Nicolas Cage does a brilliant job transitioning Paul from a sympathetic character to a man who is willing to throw his entire life away for his 15 minutes of fame.

So Much More Than Nightmare On Elm Street Could Dream Of Being

Nicolas Cage Dream Scenario 1

Though a classic Freddy Krueger kill is obviously the stuff of nightmares, we’re presented with a more harrowing tale in Dream Scenario. Using the concept of widespread recognition through dreams as an analog for viral popularity on social media, we learn about the unexpected dangers of sudden fame. We learn how sudden adoration could profoundly damage an individual unprepared for the derision they’ll inevitably face over the slightest misstep.In the case of Dream Scenario, Paul’s fans and students are traumatized by things they imagined him doing to them in their dreams, which is something that he has absolutely no control over. But the dreams are so realistic that they all end up needing therapy anyway.

Don’t Sleep On Dream Scenario

nicolas cage

Though Nicolas Cage’s representation of Paul in waking life isn’t frightening in the sense that you’ll feel unsafe if you were to meet him in person, the gruesome acts he engages in within his subjects dreams are disturbing enough to make you have second thoughts about going anywhere near him. If you want to see Nicolas Cage at the height of his renaissance, Dream Scenario comes with strong recommendations. Not only did Cage bag a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, Dream Scenario earned a 91 percent critical score on Rotten Tomatoes across over 200 reviews. But don’t say we didn’t warn you, as you will find yourself cringing in the best kind of way while watching this surreal black comedy.