Filmmaker John Hayes often created B-movies that were spiced with interesting weirdness, such as the surrealistic thriller Dream No Evil, but it’s telling that he frequently returned to the safe harbor of directing porn. To put it bluntly, he was a hack. Which is why it’s frustrating to watch Dream No Evil, which has worthwhile elements but never quite clicks. The confusing story tracks Grace MacDonald (Brooke Mills), a sexy young woman warped by childhood trauma. Specifically, she was abandoned by her father and raised by the members of a church. As a sexy young adult, she travels the country with Reverend Paul Jessie Bundy (Michael Pataki), participating in revival-meeting spectacles. It’s unclear why she doesn’t spend more time with her fiancé, Paul’s brother, and it’s unclear why she’s frigid. In any event, Paul’s hot for Grace. One day—please don’t ask for details—Grace encounters a pimp who moonlights as an undertaker, and he claims to have the corpse of Grace’s father in his workroom. He takes Grace there. Then her dad, Timothy MacDonald (Edmond O’Brien), rises from the dead and kills the pimp/undertaker. Later, Timothy plays an accordion and scowls while Grace dances for Paul, repeatedly flashing her panties at the preacher. As the title suggests, we’re meant to interpret these events as episodes from Grace’s dreams, but suffice to say Hayes lacks the skill necessary for putting across a persuasive combination of fantasy and reality. Weird stuff happens without much in the way of context or explanation or impact. So while Dream No Evil presents a lot of strangely lurid content, it’s hard to discern what purpose the content serves—and therefore nearly impossible to say whether Hayes achieved any thematic goals.
Dream No Evil: LAME