Oh, boy, where to start…
In reviewing Dream House, there are a few problems that are hard to get around.
Firstly, and I’ll put it out there from the off, the film is bad, very bad. So much so that upon viewing the finished cut, director Jim Sheridan and stars Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz reportedly refused to do any promotional interviews for the film, distancing themselves from this whole mess. I don’t blame them.
Secondly, it is hard to explain to you, dear reader, the reasons why the film is so bad without giving away the plot, which I will nonetheless attempt to do. This, however, despite the fact that the very studio that made the film had no such qualms in editing the trailer, which pretty much reveals the plot twist… Check it out at the bottom of this page, but be warned, it really does give away everything.
Dream House tells the story of Will Atenton (Daniel Craig), who quits his high-flying publishing job in New York to relocate to the suburbs with his wife Elizabeth (Rachel Weisz) and their two daughters, into a dream house (hey, that’s the name of the film!) where he intends to write a novel. Heavy handed exposition, which by the way pervades the entire film, lets us know that they are indeed a happy family, but there are mysteries lurking beneath the surface. The neighbours act strangely around them, Elizabeth and their daughters become convinced that the house is haunted, and Will, after finding a group of goth teenagers performing some kind of satanic ritual in their basement (I kid you not…), discovers that the house used to belong to a family in which the father brutally killed his wife and their two daughters. After that murder, the man disappeared, and was never seen again.
Now, had I never seen films such as The Sixth Sense, The Others, or Shutter Island, I might have been shocked by the twists and turns taken by this film’s plot. However, since I have seen those other films, the summary provided above is enough for me, and pretty much everyone else, to work out what happens next. And if that alone is not enough to dissuade you from watching this film, I should add that the film is poorly written, lazily acted, and nihilistically directed. It serves absolutely no purpose, it is utterly lacking in pace, scares or thrills, and will have you gasping in disbelief at some of the devices it employs to drag its turgid narrative along (remember “Will Atenton”, I will say no more…).
Unless you’re a film student writing an essay on poorly crafted cinema, or someone seeking a less hilarious version of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, I suggest that you avoid this film altogether.