‘Dream House’ Review

Published 2 years ago by

Dream House Movie Reviews Dream House Review

Screen Rant’s Kofi Outlaw Reviews Dream House

Dream House is a hard movie to review – or even describe – without revealing too many twists and turns of the plot. The film stars Daniel Craig (Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) as a writer who settles into a quaint home with his wife (Rachel Weisz) and two daughters, only to learn that their house was the scene of a horrific crime. When strange things start going bump in the night, the husband starts to uncover a connection to the tragic murders – but only the pretty neighbor (Naomi Watts) seems to know what’s going on for sure.

Dream House was directed by Jim Sheridan, the man behind such great films as My Left Foot and The Boxer, as well as so-so films like Brothers and Get Rich or Die Trying. Sheridan is a skilled director (even when he’s working with half-baked material) so technically speaking, Dream House is visually sound and richly textured in its disparity between the warm hues and glows of a family home, full of love, and the harsh, blue-tinted, snow-ridden world outside that home – or, at times, the grit and grime of homes that have been overrun with rot and despair.

The other strength of the film is its cast. Craig, Weisz and Watts are all skilled actors and keep a lot of the more ridiculous aspects of the story (more on that later) grounded in believable performances. Craig – often stone-faced and grim – displays some warmth and smiles in his role as a loving father, though he gets ample time to stone-face it as well. Weisz is good as a free-spirited wife and mother; she makes her character stand out as a unique and fully-formed person, while Watts is given a harder task, playing a pivotal character that has to be balanced just right to be believable at all. Watts almost pulls of that balancing act, but not quite. Guys like Elias Koteas and Marton Csokas are great character actors – though they’re given little to work with here.

Dream House Naomi Watts Dream House Review

Naomi Watts in 'Dream House'

What knocks Dream House - a movie which has so much potential on paper – right off the rails is the script by David Loucka, the writer of not-so-great films like Eddie, The Dream Team, and Borderline. Dream House is a story that seems like a cool idea in theory, but doesn’t quite work when put onscreen. It’s highly derivative of other films (two in particular – scroll down for that mild spoiler) and ultimately gets lost in its own ambitions – which pretty much amount to throwing several “twists” into the story that are meant to be shocking or clever when they’re really just clichéd, confusing and often obvious.

This is also a film that changes gears very drastically in its 1st, 2nd, and 3rd acts, and subsequently feels disjointed and episodic, rather than organic and cohesive. There are also a truckload of logical flaws, and plot holes so wide they are nearly impossible not to fall into. On the whole, the poor script reduces Dream House to a movie that is hard to get into – and stay into – despite the talented actors and director working to keep it grounded and engaging.

[MILD SPOILERS BELOW]

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Basically, the film is a mashup of plot elements “borrowed” from both Fight Club and Ghost, but the mix results in something that is far less sensible or believable. A lot of the themes about memory and family (and the power of that loving bond) are very powerful and resonant ones, so its a shame they get diminished by all the chaos and confusion of the patchwork plot.

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[END SPOILERS]

Dream House Daniel Craig Rachel Weisz Dream House Review

Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz in 'Dream House'

Sometimes an idea just falls flat. There’s no harm in the trying. Certain viewers may watch Dream House and be thrilled by the shifting, uncertain nature of its plot (if they can avoid scrutinizing it and simply brush off the gaping holes). As stated, the film is well-constructed and well-acted, so it’s not a total nightmare. However, like the strangest of dreams, watching this movie will  leave you feeling muddled and somewhat upset about the experience.

[NOTE: Usually we post the trailers for films at the end of a review, but the trailer for Dream House contained BIG SPOILERS about the twists of the plot. WATCH AT YOUR OWN RISK.]

If you want to discuss the SPOILERS of the film without ruining the movie for others – Please hop on over to our Dream House Spoilers post.

Dream House is now playing in theaters everywhere.

Our Rating:

2.5 out of 5
(Fairly Good)

TAGS: dream house

20 Comments

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  1. That’s a shame because I really like the cast and the poster seems rather stylish ….yes yes I know never judge a book by its cover.

  2. LOL I was going to say ‘but doesn’t the trailer tell you what is in the ‘Mild Spoilers’ section? Then I read your ‘NOTE’ :)

    Shame too. I hate when the trailer gives you the whole film. And because I figured that WAS the film, I wasn’t too jazzed about seeing it anyway. Thanks for the warning…

  3. Just came out of the theater and I can understand way both Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz did not want to do press for it. It’s horrible.

  4. Mhhh, Daniel Craig, I love him so much. It feels like a good movie. There’ve been no good movies recently so I really hope this one is worth seeing.

  5. I have just watched the movie, and I liked it. I think, that all inconsistencies can be explained easily if you pay real attention to them. Did you notice that among the inhibitants og tne mental institution you see the same faces that of his co-workers from the beginning of the movie? Did you notice that you have seen the face of the killer at the beginning of the movie? I think, that the whole story is just a book that he wrote. It never happened in reality. That explains all the inconsistencies. What do you think?

    • i think thats a spoiler.

      • Not really. It’s just a very subjective and personal opinion. I went through all the Rotten Tomatoes reviews and some others, and nobody at all feels that way about the story. My boyfriend did not agree with me either. With movies like this one, there could not possibly be any right or wrong answers. I just feel that my interpretation explains it all very well, without disclosing any specifics. Just don’t brush off all the little “inconsistent” things as insignificant, and see how you feel about the movie.

        • Yes finally someone else gets it… Great movie in my opinion… These critics that gave it a bad rap. Must not be to bright if they were lost by this movie!

  6. I like scary films this time of year so I did enjoy the movie. Acting is great, plot is disappointing but what ruined it was the ads which revealed who the dad really is. ‘Would have been a better film experience if the trailers didn’t ruin it.

  7. I agree with Nataly, this is a novel inside a movie. Craig’s character was part of a publishing company and an author who took time off to write a book, a thriller. All that we see in front of our eyes is taking place in his mind. It is an original idea, the acting is very good, but I found it convoluted and silly at times, especially when they use cheap tricks to scare the public. I wouldn’t see it twice, and I don’t think I’d recommend it to everyone. At least it has made us react.

    • Wow! That never occurred to me!! I thought the people from his work were a dilusion of actual people in the institution. And that following the events that had occurred he had subsequently written the book in reality because it had been part of the world he made up to deal with the loss of his family.

  8. The trailer of this film is false advertising. This is NOT a horror movie, rather, a murder mystery. However, it’s not a terrible one. I actually think the film would have been a lot better if they approached it from a non-horror movie angle (maybe from the point of view of a detective working on the case or something). Anyway, the story on it’s own merits would have been fine, so I’m wondering why this movie was billed as something that it clearly isn’t?

  9. Hey people (and it doesnt really bother me) you may want to think before you type.

    I have read 2 ‘posts’ in here that are for the most part spoilers.

    Please be a little more considerate to your fellow readers when expressing your thoughts about a picture of this ilk.

  10. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl73nvTpWvA spot za seron tate

  11. I know my explanation was kind of random and not in order but if anybody has questions ask them and I will explain.

  12. Are you kidding me? That is what they call a ‘HORROR’ movie now a days?
    DON’T waste your time with this one… Not scary, not even close.. I nearly fell asleep.. Photography is good, the acting is good.. Just lacks something to make it the least bit interesting.. What a waste of my time..

    If you looking for a movie to really scare you… Look elsewhere.

  13. Film was well acted and shot well but the ending was just dumb and silly.

  14. I thought the film was very predictable, but none the less i did enjoy it.

  15. I agree with the actors portayals of the characters carried the movie. Again I impressed with Rachael Weisz and the intellegence with which she addresses her character. That quality and the honesty she endows, how do they do this through a piece of film. Admireable. And the directors use of color to depict the states of story line. Very skillful. Enjoyed the movie from both these viewpoints.

  16. Honestly I was excited to see it with my friends in the theather… I was sadly disappointed. I feel asleep around the middle of the movie and nothing exciting had happened! I payed 12 dollars to sleep in a movie theather. TWO THUMBS DOWN!

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