Halloween Horror Movie Month: Dream House (2011)

A guy who doesn’t know who he is. Original.

Daniel Craig plays Will Atenton, a successful businessman who forsakes New York City for the rural pleasures of New England, only to discover that the tranquil abode he’s moved into was the scene of an as-yet-unsolved multiple homicide. Drawn reluctantly into the mystery surrounding the tragic events, Will and his wife (Rachel Weisz) soon begin finding plenty of reasons to worry about their own safety.

For the last three months I’ve been going to the movies, the trailer for this has been everywhere and let’s just say that if you have seen it too, you know this film already.

See the problem with the trailer is that it shows everything that we weren’t supposed to know already. It shows us the major “plot-twist”, what’s going to happen, and why so when these moments of strangeness pop-up, we don’t feel confused by it as more as we know why it’s there because of the trailer. Many times the film had a creepy atmosphere and maybe could have actually worked better if it weren’t for this dumb trailer that shows all that happens, and takes almost every sort of momentum this film had going for itself.

Another part of the problem with this film too is that the direction from Jim Sheridan and screenplay from writer David Loucka. The direction from Sheridan (who seems like he needs to pay somebody back with all of the crap he’s done in the past 6 years) doesn’t really bring anything new to this material with a slow-pace that seems like it really wants to go somewhere, but never fully does. Sheridan also seems very lazy with certain explanations of things that are supposed to make sense by the end of the film, but have no logic in what it’s trying to show. Sheridan really doesn’t know what he’s doing here with this film and the whole time, I kind of felt like this could have been directed by anybody and I would have not even cared. But then again, I guess that’s why this guy didn’t even want his name attached to the film in the first place anyway.

The generic screenplay from Loucka just makes everything worse too. The film begins with the usual noises, shadows, and creepy things in the woods, which is only the first hour of the film. Then we go into this totally amateurish last act where we get all of the explanations that made no sense in the first place, flashbacks that were as obvious as Craig’s British accent, and some really laughable effects that seemed like they were just tacked on when the film was in post-production. Loucka doesn’t bring anything new to this material, and it just blows even worse with the “direction” from Sheridan.

There’s only a couple of positives to this film which don’t run very far in the first place. I thought the plot was at least a little bit interesting when it first started off. Although I knew what was going to happen thanks to that son-of-a-bitch trailer, I was still a tad interested with this premise and felt like it could not be as bad as I originally thought it was. However, I was wrong. Another positive to this film was the cast, which was OK to say the least.

Daniel Craig is likable and very believable as Will Atenton, and brings a lot of charm to the more predictable and silly lines that this film has its characters spout out; Rachel Weisz is good in this role because she’s both fragile and beautiful, which works in her advantage; and Naomi Watts doesn’t really have any reason to be here, other than the fact that she’s the chick who lives across the street.

I don’t really think that this is a terrible film, and not the worst of 2011 already (trust me, I still need to see Bucky Larson and Jack & Jill). The problem is that as time goes on, trailers for more and more movies start to give major plot points and twists away without really caring about the people who want to be surprised when they see it. This is a biggest problem here because I feel like I would have been a bit interested by all of the mystery that surrounded this film, but I didn’t care because I knew what was going to happen thanks to the marketing. Bastards.

Consensus: Dream House has a good premise, but is just terribly slow, predictable, and featured a trailer that gave away all of the major plot twists that took any type of mystery or suspense away from the film and makes director Jim Sheridan, look more and more like a slacker as his films keep coming out.



  1. One of the year’s worst and you’re right to pinpoint its failures. It also makes the error of casting a major actress (Watts) in a minor role, so that you know in advance her character will matter. I hate this movie.

  2. Yeah, I heard this was bad but if you knew what was going on behind the scenes. It was a whole lot worse because director Jim Sheridan got into some trouble with the producers and was locked out of the editing room. If anything, the blame should really go to the studio which is why Sheridan nor Craig nor Weisz chose to promote the film.

    I wanted to see it because of Jim Sheridan, who hasn’t been making great movies lately after In America. I was hoping doing something different would give him the chance to maybe get something going again. Alas, that didn’t happen and he ended up with a film where he had no control and no final cut.

  3. Isn’t it great that we’ve already got “Jack and Jill” pegged as one of the worst films of the year and it hasn’t even come out yet?


    And yeah, this one wasn’t any good.

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