You know, a movie trailer can give us expectations about a film. It tells us a certain amount about a film so to draw us in and make us want to see it. And sometimes not. Sometimes it just lies.
You know, a movie trailer can give us expectations about a film. It tells us a certain amount about a film so to draw us in and make us want to see it. And sometimes not. Sometimes it just lies. Sometimes it’s like, “Hey, check out this creepy supernatural thriller/horror movie about a family that moves into their perfect new home in the country that turns out to be the site of a some horrible murders.” But then it turns out to be something else entirely.
Oh, sure, that can be a good thing. Twists can be effective. And they could have been here, too, if not for a few minor bumps that change one’s opinion of the film. Not huge glaring mistakes, but little things that make a big difference. It’s like having one of those little pebbles in your shoe or a tiny splinter in your hand. It gets under your skin and it hurts like Hell. So small, but so affecting. Or a paper cut! Yeah, that’s it. Tiny, painful…ok, enough with the analogies.
In the story of Dream House, Will Atenten decides to quit his big downtown editor’s job to move his wife and two daughters to the country so he can write a book. They found a beautiful house in the country; an idyllic place. But then they find out that the previous family occupying of the house were murdered by the father. Gee, that sounds familiar. But it gets interesting.
After one of Will’s daughters sees some man outside the window, and the neighbors act all weird for a few days, Will does some investigating and finds out that the man that committed the murders is still alive and living in the area. He goes to the local psychiatric hospital and discovers that guy, Peter Ward, is him! Oh, relax, that was in the trailer.
So, first we start with what seems a supernatural horror film, then it becomes a psychological thriller. This part of the film gets kind of interesting, and frankly, they handle any potential plot holes well. There are no slip-ups in the script – yet. And I should mention, the acting is all great. Daniel Craig is Will, his wife Libby is played by the always lovely Rachel Weisz, and the friend neighbor, Ann, is Naomi Watts. There is just enough information about everyone to plant the seed of doubt everywhere. The bulk of the film is about us and Peter trying to decipher what’s real, and what is all in his head. And it works well, until about the last 15 minutes.
Without going into any great detail, because, you know, I wouldn’t want to blow it for you, let’s just say the rules applied to one character change subtly in this last part, but just enough to break the rules set earlier in the film. And then, one character makes a simple mistake, but it seems so terribly unlikely that I have trouble believing such carelessness would take place under the circumstances. And these two small infractions that equal two integral flaws, could easily been fixed with a little more time to consider the script. Writing is hard, I get it. Believe me. But this is what they get paid to do. Of course, the guy that wrote this also co-wrote the movie The Dream Team. Yes, the one with Michael Keaton. But with Jim Sheridan directing, you should make an impression, you know? Yeah, he was the guy that directed My Left Foot and In The Name of The Father, and a couple other movies with Daniel Day Lewis. I’m almost surprised Day Lewis wasn’t in this, too. They did great work together. Like Herzog and Kinski. Wow, now that would’ve been awesome. Imagine Herzog directing this movie with Klaus Kinski in it? Now THAT would have been something to watch, although a very different movie. It would have been a LOT scarier.
So, I’m going with about 2 and a half kittenhands for Dream House. If they had fixed those couple little problems, I could have gone to 3 and a half, but alas, not as is. But maybe those little problems won’t bother you as much. I find I will tolerate less than I used to, so maybe check out the DVD and see if you like it more.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, surprised to find the title Dream House not really very applicable to this film.