Dream House Review


Movie: Dream House
By: Maniac E
Date: March 16, 2012

Two little girls who lived in a house

Irish director Jim Sheridan (In the Name of the Father) has made some missteps before, from casting 50 Cent as a dramatic lead in Get Rich or Die Tryin' to the tone-deaf racial stereotyping of In America. But Dream House, a would-be thriller/horror suspense starring Rachel Weisz, Daniel Craig and Naomi Watts, is so misbegotten and awkward that one has to assume there was some serious after-the-fact tampering by a committee of lunatics.

Though marketed as a horror movie, it's not hard to imagine that this film started life as a more contemplative drama, until someoneóprobably not Sheridan, who along with the leads isn't doing any press for the movieódecided that adding in a couple of (admittedly effective) cheap shocks and an incongruous ending would make it easier to sell to teens who don't know better. Weisz and Craig made a love connection on the set, but amorous feelings toward the final product are in short supply.

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The real-life newlyweds play Will and Libby, a nice couple with two young daughters, who seem ready to settle happily into a country home after Will quits his big-city office gig to write a novel. But while the family are as non-dysfunctional as one could hope for, their place of residence is not: It seems the prior tenant murdered his family, which arouses suspicious looks from the locals and cult-like fascination from some hilariously stereotypical "goth" teens straight out of central casting.

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Most of the trailers have already given away a significant mid-point plot development that causes Will to question the truth of the situation. If you haven't been spoiled yet, all we'll say is that "reality" turns out to be far more ridiculous and implausible than "fantasy," and the movie isn't smart enough to be ambiguous in a way that might justify its choices. The shame of it is that Craig, Weisz, and Watts give it their all, and real-life sisters Taylor and Claire Geare are perfectly cast as the girls. But when the story isn't spinning its wheels doing absolutely nothing (which is most of the time), it's insulting your intelligence and defying its own logic.

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Still, the pair cannot save a film that was seemingly doomed from the moment Sheridan took control. Even though he constantly changes tone, he never manages to hit the right one and the result is confounding. Sometimes it seems that heís going for psychological thrills but then instantly switches to the shadowy figures and blood-curdling screams of horror and ultimately creates a confusing picture. The inclusion of CG effects is ill-advised, especially considering the doubtlessly minuscule budget allotted for them.

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Itís hard to tell what audience this movie is aimed at. Without a solid grounding in the thriller or horror genre presumably itís for fans of both, but without any innovation in either category, no self-respecting movie goer will consider this memorable. Any film with such an artificial story and poor direction will be hard-pressed to find fans, regardless of the genre.


1.5/5




BLURAY REVIEW

Image quality

Great picture quality can be found on this bluray release. Moreover, significant artifacting, banding, aliasing, crush and other ghostly anomalies don't haunt the image, and slight noise spikes are about the only things that seem out of place.


Sound

DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track isn't as absorbing as horror fans might expect. But, then again, Dream House isn't the terrifying frightfest or intense psychological thriller its trailer suggests.


Extras

None


Overall

While the movie isn't too bad, the sound and picture quality is excellent. However, the US version is the complete package this E1 release too bad isn't. Really a shame we didn't get the same things as the Universal's version.


E1 Entertainment

Movie

Dream House

Title

Dream House

Director

Jim Sheridan

Country

USA

Year

2011

Cast

Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts