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Movie Review: Dream House (PG-13)


DreamhouseKernel Rating (out of 5): half-popcorn-kernal

MPAA Rating: PG-13     Length: 92 minutes

Age Appropriate for: 15+. Ghosts, violence, murder. Also some sexual content and cursing. Too much for younger teens, but not at all scary for older ones.

The director and two stars of ‘Dream House’ hated the final film so much that they refused to do any promotion for it. They were right.

By Roxana Hadadi

It’s hard to understand Hollywood after seeing a movie like “Dream House.” The story is laughable and the script is ridiculous, but the cast is full of actors who should know better.

DreamhouseBy Roxana Hadadi

It’s hard to understand Hollywood after seeing a movie like “Dream House.” The story is laughable and the script is ridiculous, but the cast is full of actors who should know better.

Rachel Weisz of “The Whistleblower,” Naomi Watts, Elias Koteas of “Shutter Island,” Marton Csokas of   “The Debt,” and finally — and most sadly — Daniel Craig. The man still hasn’t had a hit in the U.S. that isn’t a James Bond movie, and after this summer’s terrible  “Cowboys and Aliens,” “Dream House” is another awful decision.

Maybe all the actors collectively lost their minds to star in this awfulness? Either way, after seeing the production company’s final version of the film, Craig, Weisz and even director Jim Sheridan allegedly refused to support the film in any way. And really, that’s an understandable move: “Dream House” is so overwhelmingly terrible that I imagine everyone involved wants to wipe it from their memories, and résumés.

The trailer for the film practically gives everything away, but if you haven’t seen it, at least you could go into “Dream House” with some ability to be surprised. Otherwise, there’s absolutely no point in seeing the movie. In fact, you might as well just watch the trailer and save your money, since times are hard! And this really, really, really subpar flick doesn’t deserve your dough.

“Dream House” focuses on Will Atenton (Craig), a book editor who leaves his publishing company to spend more time with his wife Libby (Weisz) and two young daughters, Dee Dee (Claire Geare) and Trish (Taylor Geare), in a nice suburban house they’ve bought outside of New York City. While Will works on his novel and Libby paints and revamps the house, they’re sure they’ve made the right decision — even if the neighbors, like Ann (Watts) and her ex-husband Jack (Csokas), are less than friendly.

But soon the neighbors’ lack of politeness becomes something more: teenagers breaking into the family’s home, strange items found in unexpected places, people watching the house at night. As Will struggles to figure out just what’s wrong with his house, he learns that a series of murders took place there about five years ago. Libby finds the bullet holes in the home, and it becomes harder for Will to hide from his family that no one will help him understand what’s wrong with their house — even the police. It becomes Will’s responsibility to protect his family, but when he’s not sure what the problem is, how can he make it right?
Craig and Weisz try their hardest — they have a fair amount of chemistry, which makes sense, since they got married after working on the film together — but the film is so poor that it’s impossible to respect any of their scenes together. As Will chases things that go bump in the night, Libby’s main responsibility to make panicked phone calls and stare wildly around their house. Character development — what character development? The husband and wife go from calm to shocked within the first 10 minutes and veer between the two feelings for the rest of the film, especially as it becomes an unexpectedly poor mimicry of “Shutter Island.”

As a glorified ghost story, “Dream House” could have worked. But its amazingly improbable ending, tied too coolly to reality, keeps the film from fully embracing a supernatural plot that may have actually been effective. Instead, “Dream House” isn’t even terrifying enough to be called a nightmare — it’s just one of those things you immediately forget.

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