As ambitious as it is amateurish, shoestring psychological thriller “Dreamkiller” would ooze a scrappy let’s-put-on-a-show charm, if only its subject matter didn’t include an elderly man having his hand shoved into a garbage disposal. Unleashed Feb. 19 in limited release, this film from young director Catherine C. Pirotta is a bit too silly and poorly acted to attract a significant audience, but one has to respect the effort.
“Dreamkiller” stars Dario Deak (who wildly overuses his “smoldering eyes” look, yet fares better than his co-stars) as Nick, a lothario neuroscientist working on a classified project in which test subjects are inoculated against personal phobias through computer-controlled hypnosis, all at the behest of a shadowy corporation. Before you can say “what could possibly go wrong,” these subjects begin dying in ways that closely mirror their phobias, Nick begins suffering slow-mo hallucinations, a sexy redhead detective (Penny Drake) appears on the scene, and Nazi doctor Josef Mengele makes a quick cameo — hilarity ensues . Film’s tiny budget is easy to divine from its patchy technical quality, but the pic’s crew acquit itself well enough with what it has.