Dream Scenario

Let the surrealism rain down.  In the opening few seconds, Dream Scenario lays it all out.  Nicolas Cage is raking leaves in his yard when, quite suddenly, things start falling in the yard.  They are heavy and break the glass table in front of his daughter.  “Don’t worry,” he tells her as he continues to rake the leaves.  More stuff falls from the sky and still he remains calm.

Yes, the sky around him is falling.  Remain calm, though.  The weirder shit is coming as one mild-mannered man becomes an unlikely celebrity for invading the dreams of others.

"cranks the satire to “11” and offers audiences one of the trippiest “WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL?!” movies this holiday season"

From a picture-perfect performance from Nicolas Cage to the surreal closing moments as technology invades even the most private of spaces, Dream Scenario is one hell of a wild (and disturbing) ride through the collective subconscious of our modern age as one unsuspecting man - read as mild-mannered failure at most things - finds himself at the center of a horrific situation: invading the dreams of others and the fallout that occurs when he loses control.

It’s one hell of a way to become a celebrity, but that’s what happens when Paul Matthews (Cage), a biology professor with plenty of ideas about the stripes on zebras but lacks the “umph” to do much about it, begins to appear in the dreams of people he’s met and never met.  For some unknown reason, he becomes the zeitgeist of the moment and everyone around the world is having a dream in which he appears.  He does nothing in these dreams, but it’s enough of a passing moment, coming at really weird times in the dreams, that he becomes recognizable to millions, eventually becoming a meme himself.

Paul discovers that he’s the talk of THE WORLD  and that a lot of people want to work with him, paying him all sorts of attention that he’s not used to.  From advertisements to proposed book deals, he’s suddenly the most fascinating man in the world.  Paul, truthfully, is just a family man and he doesn’t know how to react to this moment.

But then things go dark. Dream Scenario

The dreams turn to nightmares and, rather suddenly, this new fame turns against him.  Where did he go wrong?  Was it not doing the Sprite commercial?  Should he have not tried to re-enact one woman’s sex fantasy with him?  The absurdity of Dream Scenario comes to a grinding halt and suddenly, the commentary starts punching him in the face. 

With biting humor and a solid commentary on society, fame, and cancel culture, writer/director Kristoffer Borgli cranks the satire to “11” and offers audiences one of the trippiest “WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL?!” movies this holiday season as one balding professor in a neglected coat finds out that he can’t control his own image . . . no matter how hard he tries or doesn’t.  You can go viral for doing absolutely nothing.

But what does it mean?  At the end of the day, this dark comedy (which turns to a horror gem in some of its finest minutes) provides an answer that is unshakably honest.  It’s a lesson we all need to learn, especially as social media gets more and more invasive.   Where does all of this end?  The answer is a heartfelt plea to return to a normal which has already passed us by, all of which is captured quite beautifully from cinematographer Benjamin Loab exquisite lens.

Dream Scenario, co-starring Julianne Nicholson, is now in theaters thanks to A24 films.

4/5 stars

Film Details

Dream Scenario

MPAA Rating: R.
102 mins
: Kristoffer Borgli
Kristoffer Borgli
Lily Bird; Nicolas Cage; Julianne Nicholson
: Comedy | Horror

Memorable Movie Quote: "Do you think I have the emotional maturity to carry on an affair?"
Theatrical Distributor:
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 22, 2023
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: Hapless family man Paul Matthews (Nicolas Cage) finds his life turned upside down when millions of strangers suddenly start seeing him in their dreams.  But when his nighttime appearances take a nightmarish turn, Paul is forced to navigate his newfound stardom, in this wickedly entertaining comedy.


Dream Scenario