One statement before I proceed: Dream House is well worth your money and deserves far better than what critics have said about it.
I saw the trailer of this movie a few weeks back and suffice to say that I was intrigued enough to want to watch it, notwithstanding the fact that the trailer practically gave away the key elements and should-have-been-unexpected plot twist. The movie had a lot going against it though: one, it movie was widely panned by critics for the poorly (stupidly, I might add) trailer; two, reports said that the director and lead stars were so unhappy with how it was edited, turning what was supposed to be a thriller into a campy horror movie, that they boycotted all promotional rounds for it; three, being the confused movie it was – it was understandably hard to market. I mean, do you sell it as a drama/thriller or a horror movie?
Credit should be given to the story, though – it gave quite a unique twist (unfortunately revealed in the trailer, as mentioned above) to your usual family massacre. Kind of reminds me of The Sixth Sense and the Others combined (hint: there are ghosts!), but even the similarity is given a fresh twist here. Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) moves his wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and their two young girls from New York to the quiet suburbs of of Connecticut, living in a rambling house just a few steps away from the forest so he can work on finishing his novel.
Things go smoothly with the family settling in – Libby painting over portions of the hosue and the kids finding a hidden attic full of toys of the kids of the previous owners; however, one night, their youngest daughter Didi sees a man with “a big head and his face was fuzzy.” Will and Libby dismiss this as the product of Didi’s active imagination but Will becomes alarmed when he sees foot prints in the snow the next day, exactly where his daughter said the man was standing and looking in through their window. Will also discovers a group of goth teenagers lighting candles and recreating a massacre scene in the basement of their house, which prompts him to investigate the history of their “dream house” and its previous tenants.
I won’t go past that part since I would be giving away spoilers if I do, but suffice to say that if you have no idea how this movie would turn out, you would enjoy the twist. And Daniel and Rachel made it all the more enjoyable – I especially liked the scene when Will was confronting Libby with the truth and she just cries and those brief moments of realization when her husband was trapped in the burning house with her best friend, Ann Patterson (played by Naomi Watts). I just noticed one thing – Daniel Craig seems to have aged A LOT. Is he really that old or was he really just aged in the movie to give more credence to the character’s sorrow?
The movie has that dreary setting which immediately gives you the creeps but I somehow felt that the directing and editing of the movie leaves a lot to be desired. There were scary and touching moments but those came few and far in between to make it truly memorable, although I did shed a tear during the confrontation scene between Will and Libby, and when Ann’s daughter remarked how she misses her friends, and in the final scene, as Will escapes from the burning house.
All in all, Dream House isn’t a masterpiece of whatever genre it thinks itself to be in, but I did find it entertaining and not a waste of my hard-earned money. Hubby agrees with me too.