Halloween Marathon: Dream House (2011)

Next up is the first choice and one of the highest votes in the polls from you: Dream House. I’ve been meaning to watch this but it just looks so creepy, especially when you put kids vanishing into the wall as the poster.

Regardless, I managed to give this a go with my boyfriend and it was listed a thriller and I wasn’t even sure it was a horror thriller.  Basically I know nothing about it before seeing it, as with most of the movies on the polls.

Lets check it out!

dream houseDirector: Jim Sheridan

Cast: Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Marton Csokas

Publisher Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) quits his job to spend more time with his family and devote times to writing a book.  However, shortly after settling into his new house, a series of events occurs that leads him to find out that his house was previously the crime scene of a family murder and that the husband, Peter Ward is still alive and recently released. Will starts tracing the steps to track Peter Ward in hopes of protecting his family: wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and his  daughters.

Expectations can kill a movie.  I think that is why Dream House has such low ratings especially with Rotten Tomatoes at the mediocre 6% score.  Dream House seemed to sell itself as a creepy horror thriller with supernatural elements.  Now, I’m not saying some of those things wasn’t in it.  Except you can completely take out the horror part because its really not in that league.  Luckily, I learned that it was a thriller (regardless of the specific sort) so I didn’t expect the whole full-on horror. Not sure if that helped.

Dream House

Don’t get me wrong.  I didn’t hate Dream House.  In fact, I actually did enjoy it.  Lets start with what I liked before we jump into what fell short. First and foremost, the best thing about this psychological thriller is the cast.  Everyone does a convincing and amazing job at each of their roles from Daniel Craig’s Will and Rachel Weisz’s  Libby to the their two daughters jumping over to the less apparent role of Ann, played by Naomi Watts as the mysterious neighbor. I think Daniel Craig deserves even more praise because he lets us see that he can be so much more than James Bond (not that James Bond is a bad thing).  His role demanded quite the opposite of what Bond’s character is and that makes what he did here stand out.  The second good thing was the premise of Dream House.  The idea was amazing with a good plot twist that kind of blew our minds.

Dream House

Unfortunately, here’s where I need to talk about the downfall.  Great thrillers have wonderful twists at the right time.  But, Dream House pulled out their twist way too early and actually it didn’t really build well enough for it, making it less effective as a mind-blowing experience but rather a WTF moment where I needed to rethink what I saw from the beginning to formulate how the story got there.  And then, to make it something more, it set out to give another twist near the end which kind of starts being predictable as I guessed half of it and had it confirmed making the second twist not too effective.  This issues with it come in the execution of the plot (as I’m starting to realize is tough to do in a lot of movies) and forming the subplot. Although, the effort was to build on Daniel Craig and his family, they didn’t focus on other relevant characters like the mysterious neighbor played by Naomi Watts who seemed to know more than she was letting on. There was literally altogether a 5 minute encounter before the first twist and it wasn’t enough to connect to her character. I rarely see flaws of execution but this one jumped too abruptly for me to overlook. Now, does that make it a bad movie? Probably not but what frustrates me is that it had all the elements to be such a better (if not great) movie.

Dream House

Overall, Dream House is an enjoyable psychological thriller.  If you acknowledge and drop the horror aspect, you will enjoy this more.  The cast does a great job in their respective roles even if at times, you may feel that each character wasn’t built enough.  However, the good cast doesn’t help to skip over how the plot execution could have been a lot better to build up the suspense and not jump prematurely into the first twist leaving the second twist to lack its needed impact.  I can’t recommend it enthusiastically but if you happen to have a day in and you want to sit down and watch something, this could be a good choice.

Have you seen Dream House? Any thoughts on the twist? Are there any memorable roles of Daniel Craig other than being James Bond?