The new psychological thriller “Dream House” – not to be confused with the similarly titled Japanese horror flick “Dream Home” released earlier this year – certainly possesses plenty of potential but ultimately feels like little more than a missed opportunity.
Mind you, that is not to say that “Dream House” is despicable – which is precisely the assumption one might make based on the fact that Universal Studios refused to screen the film for critics, most of whom then responded by trashing it profusely (likely in judgment of principle than in actual analysis of the motion picture’s quality).
Of course, then there is the matter of director Jim Sheridan, who reportedly went to the Directors Guild of America in an effort to remove his name from the credits after Morgan Creek Productions – acting in response to a test audience’s negative reaction – took control of the film’s final edit. You would think that “Dream House” was the worst movie of all time.
However, that is far from the truth. Granted, “Dream House” is still pretty bad but we have seen worse – much worse – released over just the past few months. The movie is rather slow and each of the actors appears to be about as confused as the audience with respect to what occurs over the course of this story but it is still entertaining. Its concept is just a bit underdeveloped.
Daniel Craig plays Will Atenton, a successful publisher who quits a high power job in Manhattan to relocate his wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and their two daughters to a quaint New England town. However, just as they settle into their new life, they discover that their new house was once the murder scene of a mother and children believed to have been at the hands of the surviving husband.
When Will investigates, he is not sure if he is starting to see ghosts or if the tragic story is just hitting too close to home. His only clues come from Ann Paterson (Naomi Watts), a mysterious neighbor who knew those who were shot. As Will pieces together the haunting puzzle, he must find out who murdered the family before he returns to kill again.
Needless to say, you can expect a twist at some point during “Dream House’s” runtime. Interestingly, the twist comes quite early, though, which takes the movie in a cool, unseen direction. Unfortunately, that direction is not dealt with quite as creatively as it could have been, resulting in an eviction of any intelligence whatsoever.
Word has it that all of those aforementioned troubles began when Sheridan deviated from writer David Loucka’s screenplay. It is quite possible that Loucka’s screenplay harnessed the unrealized vision in such a way that would have blown our minds. Unfortunately, much like the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know.
“Dream House” (PG-13 – 92 minutes) is now playing at movie theaters throughout the Valley. Visit FirstLook.com for specific showtimes.
This movie, which was not made available for review in advance of its release, was screened courtesy of UltraStar Cinemas – exclusive home of Pure Digital Cinema. Visit them in the Valley at UltraLuxe Scottsdale Pavilions, 9090 E. Indian Bend Road, or UltraStar Surprise Pointe 14, 13649 N. Litchfield Road.