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Dream House

A movie directed by Jim Sheridan

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What happens when a vision becomes a studio concept.

  • Apr 2, 2012
Half a star out of ****

Such a sad thing it is, when a director and his stars can't even take pride in their own movie. Jim Sheridan and actors Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, and Naomi Watts have openly expressed their disapproval of how "Dream House" turned out; and it's only now that I can take part in their pain, although being a simple onlooker, I probably can't quite relate to the feeling. But in a strange sort of way, I'm OK with that. The film is a prime example of what happens when a studio forcefully derails an artistic vision; I'm actually fairly interested in hearing how the film - which has a pretty solid and intriguing premise going for it - ended up such a stinking pile of pure horseshit. Sheridan is no hack, so it comes to a surprise that he was able to crank out something as thoroughly repulsive as this; whatever it is. Look, I'm all for derivative movies that are entertaining, and perhaps even derivative movies that are passable; but derivative movies that are bad are another thing, and boy, let me tell you - this film is really, really bad...and derivative. I don't know what they were thinking while making it, if they were in fact thinking at all.

Businessman Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) quits his job so that he can spend more time with his wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and his two young daughters. I suppose he will now take up writing or something like that. Anyways, the family has just invested in a new house; and they are renovating the premises themselves. It's not a bad looking place, but as they will soon discover, it's got a hell of a past. After some strange occurrences - such as the kids supposedly seeing a man outside the window, and some teenagers practicing occult rituals in the basement - Will decides to take matters into his own hands, and so begins the short-lived quest to find out the truth behind the house's history. His findings include the former owner of the house - a man by the name of Peter Ward - and the tragic crimes that he committed towards his family.

This is the kind of movie that should be creepy for at least until the big twist is revealed, but alas, I never felt anything but boredom and plenty of yawns already pre-forming inside of me. In fact, I'd have to say the very act of yawning is more a more engaging and satisfactory way to spend my time than any time spent watching this atrocious disaster. I kept wondering: was it a thriller, was it a horror movie, or was it a drama? Perhaps it's one of those movies that tries to be all three. Although it goes without saying that it fails miserably; but unlike a great many films, never for a moment does it have the strength or capacity to bring itself back up. I'd have to say that it starts its grand descent into horror movie hell the moment Daniel Craig utters his first line of indescribably lame dialogue, and it just keeps on falling from that point on.

The film has a lot in common with films such as "The Shining", but instead of paying homage or respect to its influences, it takes, takes, and takes some more. It doesn't even borrow; it just steals ideas and atmospheric queues without even asking the audience or the makers of the original material kindly. I know that I personally don't need a film that's entirely original - especially not in the harsh times that we find ourselves in these days when it comes to a night at the movies - but when you seem to be going out of your way to be completely unoriginal, I cannot help but be just a little bothered by your "efforts". I'm not too sure is Sheridan was trying to make as bad a movie as he did, since his heart never seemed to be in the thing from the start, but nevertheless; his name is still attached - in spite of his noble attempts to remove it. The thing is just so goddamn bad; with ZERO charisma from the cast members - who spew the kind of dialogue that you get when you, say, put the script through the shredder - and a visual style that is competent, but really nothing special. Throw in generic, cute little girls; and you've got yourself a nice example of why PG-13 horror is so often looked down on as a bad thing.

It was a pain in the ass sitting through this one. I never want to see it again. If I ever do, I'll want to either (1.) blow my brains out or (2.) burn every copy of the film that I see from thereon out. Please don't be stupid and make the mistake that I did of watching the film in its entirety; curiosity killed the cat you know, and this time, it may very well kill the man. "Dream House" is one of the most inexcusably dull films I've ever seen; and I don't put that lightly, I really mean it this time. I watch a lot of bad films, and some are sort of enjoyable in their badness, but no pleasure or salvation can be derived from this slow, plodding, tedious mess. At 90 minutes, it seems like one of those overlong 3-hour epics-that-aren't-really-epics. And it case you didn't know; those tend to be really, really bad.

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April 02, 2012
LOL! your last paragraph is making me crack up!
More Dream House reviews
review by . March 02, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
They Are in A
Psychological thrillers and ghost stories. Two of my favorite horror genres which was why I immediately became interested with writer David Loucka and director Jim Sheridan’s “Dream House”. The film also has a stellar cast that could easily attract mainstream audiences. I have to admit I was a little mad at myself for missing this film and theaters. Now that I’ve seen it, what do I think? Was it as good as I had hoped for?      Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) …
review by . May 09, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
Is the dream house a haunted house?
Will (Daniel Craig) retires to live in his dream house with his family, but scary things start happening; it turns out the last residents were murdered and now someone is after his wife and kids.      On the positive side, Craig does a good job playing something besides 007 and there are a few, mild, bump-in-the-night scares. Also, he married his co-star, Rachel Weisz. On the down side, the script is silly, convoluted, and makes the audience feel like dopes in the last scene.   …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie



Director: Jim Sheridan
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: 30 September 2011 (USA)
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: David Loucka
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