Channel Zero: The Dream Door turns a marriage in a mind and body bending nightmare.
The Dream Door is the fourth and final story of the creepypasta anthology series Channel Zero. It’s the most accessible and straightforward story with relatable themes. The symbolism is clear and understandable and is in a solid way connected to the creepy events. It’s a simple, intimate story of the private life of a married couple that spirals out of control that becomes a well-crafted but intimate nightmare. It therefore is different to the other stories that dealt with weird dimensions and the occult and supernatural.
Although drama is at the core of the story, it’s not that intense or sinister as was shown in the previous seasons and isn’t connected with an extensive mythology. Big star is Troy James who draws all the attention to his contortionist performances, which is a huge asset to the story.
This fourth season consists of 6 episodes with each a duration of 42 minutes. It has a continuous story arc that unravels the mystery behind Preztel Jack and Jill’s and Tom’s secrets while building towards a big scary twist.
Jillian Hope is married to her childhood love Tom Hodgson after she returned to her hometown and they met again. But Jill has trust issues, not without reason. He gets phone calls in the middle of the night, he fights with a strange woman in the hardware store and lies about where he is going. Her fear originates from her childhood after her father left her and her mother for another woman. She’s in therapy to process that, but it doesn’t prevent her from becoming very suspicious of Tom.
Things get worse when in the basement they find a strange blue door. That door leads to a stairs and down the stairs is another door. Behind that door a man is trapped. A strange man that reminds Jill of her imaginary friend from her childhood: Pretzel Jack. He comforted and protected her when she was little. And now he’s back to keep her safe again at any cost.
Why you should watch it
The Dream Door is the most accessible but also the least scary or strange story of Channel Zero. But still, there are enough disturbing scenes and events that unfold. The story is built around clear themes that address trust, secrets, distrust, cheating within a romantic relationship. These are common themes that most people can relate to, more or less.
It’s about Jill and Tom and their relationship spiraling out of control due to both their behaviors. What makes this a horror story is that Pretzel Jack is here to protect Jill from her anxieties which takes a rather sinister turn.
While Pretzel Jack is a creepy but also a comforting figure he kills those who are threatening Jill, in a gruesome way. He is portrayed by Troy James a brilliant performer and contortionist, giving an even more creepy vibe to Preztel Jack while he’s bending his body in awesome but disturbing ways. But his mask with a grin on his face, is pretty scary and disturbing too. He has the feel of a clown with the gift to cheer Jill up, to hug her, but gets malicious within moments. But the best part is that he’s not his own person. He’s proves to be a puppet that acts on Jill’s emotions.
That conclusion brings in a twist to the story. While Jill depends on Pretzel Jack for protection, he is comforting, but not a real person to have an honest conversation with. That’s where Ian comes in, their friendly neighbor whom she can talk to. Her confiding in him doesn’t only stir up more problems for her marriage, but also has a terrible twist. That twist is cause for a lot more horror to spiral out of control in the last half of the story. It all becomes more real and surreal at the same time, with graphic violence and terrible acts, creepy events and horrifying dreams are coming to life.
The story has a great buildup, in which problems steadily surface, become worse and worse resulting in pure horror, while Jill seems to lose control herself. It’s a story of mystery, weirdness and violent horror, but the drama is what drives the story, that is well and clear symbolized by figures like Pretzel Jack.
Although the least scary, intense or original story of the four, it has the same familiar tone and voice, and still is quite scary and weird. The story takes its time to build all that is happening, to flesh out the characters, to provide a great twist and to connect it all together to form a well-crafted story.
My favorite part
The moment when they discover the door, is the most anticipated scene. It’s full of suspense and a big and scary surprise is what lies behind it. It’s creepy and has a foreboding atmosphere that is only the beginning of the real horrifying events to come.
While Jill and Tom and Ian aren’t the most likable persons, Preztel Jack might be the least realistic character, but he certainly is the most elusive and a real showstopper. Every scene he’s in, something happens, whether it’s a gruesome kill, a disturbing situation, an emotionally charged scene, tragic or sad or maybe even happy. He’s the real star of the story. Not in the least with his excellent artwork that he makes with his own body. It’s not only an outstanding performance body-wise, but he turns it into something sinister and unsettling. Miming with his body he expresses hefty emotions. Although he’s a mere puppet, it ultimately all revolves around him and Jill who controls him.
Scare factor: ★★★☆☆
Gruesome factor: ★★★★☆
Originality factor: ★★★★☆
Entertainment factor: ★★★★★
Read more about Channel Zero:
- Channel Zero season 1: Candle Cove review
- Channel Zero season 1: Candle Cove explained
- Channel Zero season 2: No End House review
- Channel Zero season 2: No End House explained
- Channel Zero season 3: Butcher’s Block review
- Channel Zero season 3: Butcher’s Block explained
Cast and crew
Channel Zero: The Dream Door is based on Hidden Door written by Charlotte Bywater. It is created by Nick Antosca. It stars Maria Stern (Jill), Brandon Scott (Tom), Steven Robertson (Ian), Troy James (Pretzel Jack).
Music by: Jeff Russo. Cinematography: Isaac Bauman. Production company: Universal Cable Productions. Original network: Syfy.