Starring DANIEL CRAIG, RACHEL WEISZ, ELIAS KOTEAS,
MARTON CSOKAS, and NAOMI WATTS
Dream Housewas released to the critics only a few hours before it's midnight release. Let it be known that this is never a good sign. It is particularly not a good sign with regard to Dream House. Indeed Dream House has all of the markings of a bad movie: slow-moving, predictable, and unimaginative. The trailer is more interesting than the entire film and remarkably the trailer gives away the most interesting thing this movie had going for it, the plot twist. Imagine the trailer for The Sixth Sense revealing to the audience that Bruce Willis' character was indeed dead? Ergo, Dream House.
Despite the marketing mishaps, Dream House tries very hard to be a haunted house film and it starts as most haunted house films do: the main characters move to a house in Connecticut. How many horror movies start when the main characters move to a house in New England? A lot.
Dream House sets the stage well, but quickly descends into absurdity when it attempts to imitate a much better haunted house film from 2001, The Others. However, The Others, unlike Dream House, was genuinely suspenseful, intriguing, and dramatic.
Dream House starts when Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) quits his demanding job as a publisher in New York and moves to the country with his beautiful wife, Libby (played by Craig's real-life wife Rachel Weisz) and two young children. Will has great dreams of writing a novel. Regrettably the peace of the countryside is not meant to be. Will and his family are routinely harassed by trespassers, nosy neighbors, and strange happenings, which make no sense to Will and even less sense to the audience. The couple soon learns that their home has been the scene of a terrible crime, claiming the life of a mother and her children. What follows is a senseless ride down a predictable rabbit hole, as Will tries to unravel the mystery of the killer and the victims.
On a positive note, Dream House is a good looking film and director Jim Sheridan is clearly a talented director. Sheridan previously directed the Oscar-winning My Left Foot and the indie hit In America, which makes the awfulness of Dream House surprising. The other redeemable feature of this film is the cast. The cast is top-notch and also includes Naomi Watts, Elias Koteas, and Marton Csokas in near invisible supporting roles. If you want to see a half-way decent haunted house flick still in theaters, skip Dream House and go see Don't be Afraid of the Dark instead. If you're still curious wait for it to come out on DVD.