Ever had a film completely ruined for you before you see the opening credits? How about just by watching the film’s trailer? Welcome to my experience with Dream House…
Will Atenton (played by Daniel Craig) is a New York editor who has left his job to move his wife Libby (played by Rachel Weisz) and two daughters to a quiet neighborhood where they can spend more time together. Unfortunately, things immediately start to get odd, as neighborhood children break into the basement, an unknown man keeps looking in the windows, and the neighbors, including Ann (played by Naomi Watts) give Will odd looks whenever he is around. Will quickly finds out that a murder took place in the home, as the previous family that lived there was killed by the father, Peter Ward.
Will, looking to protect his family, searches out answers about Ward, though the police are unwilling to help him, as Ann is seemingly the only one in town who will acknowledge him. You see, there is a secret afoot…a secret which you will already know, if you’ve seen the trailer, hence ruining the rest of the movie, which isn’t that great to begin with.
Honestly, I wanted to like this film a lot more than I did. For starters, the plot is way too predictable, even if the studio hadn’t put one of my main spoilers of the film in the trailer, ruining much of the suspense the movie tries to build in the first hour. Once you know the first twist, it takes just a few moments to figure out the rest of the ending through simple deduction, making the entire exercise a huge waste of time.
And trust me; it is a long, arduous waste of time. Very few films that came out in 2011 feel as slow as Dream House, as it seemingly takes forever to say anything or get where it is going. Slow, meandering pacing will kill a movie faster than anything, especially when you are left with a ridiculous ending.
The acting from Craig, Weisz and Watts isn’t bad, but the material they are given is far below what any of them are worthy of. It is said that director Jim Sheridan and the film stars were so disgusted with the final cut produced by Morgan Creek Productions that they refused to promote or endorse the film, and it is obvious why. It is hard to say how much of the blame should fall on Sheridan and how much falls squarely on the studios, but there is plenty to go around.
Overall, the film is just this side of terrible, with an incredibly slow, painful build leading to an incredibly predictable but still unsatisfying conclusion. The stars of the film did what they could, but they couldn’t save this from being a bit of a train wreck. Given the opportunity, I’d say it is best to avoid this one. 2 out of 4 stars
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Movie Mood: Scary Movie
Viewing Method: Other
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Plot