out of Five
Running time: 92
Badly written, poorly structured and disowned by its director, Dream House is a disappointing psychological thriller that's had all its noteworthy twists completely ruined by its trailer.
What's it all about?
Directed and later disowned (which suggests heavy studio interference and re-editing) by Jim Sheridan, Dream House stars Daniel Craig as Manhattan editor Will Atenton (bad name, bad sign), who's just moved into an idyllic suburban house with his wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and their two daughters Trish and Dee Dee (real-life sisters Taylor and Claire Geare). However, no sooner have they settled in than strange things start happening and Will is shocked to learn that his house was the site of a brutal crime, in which the previous residents were murdered. But does cagey neighbour Ann (Naomi Watts) know more than she's letting on?
If you've seen the trailer for Dream House then there's no need whatsoever to see the film as it gives away the biggest twist (which takes a good 30-40 minutes for the film to reveal), plus it shows a visual event (okay, spoiler alert, it's an explosion) that you basically spend the entire film waiting for. There is, admittedly, one climactic plot detail not given away in the trailer, but that detail is extremely irritating and only serves to make the film worse anyway.
To be fair, Craig and Weisz (who got together while making the film) both deliver decent performances, but the script gives them very little to work with, while Watts seems completely superfluous and constantly looks like she's spending all her off-camera time checking her contract to see if she can get out of it. The film also makes a serious casting mistake early on when Elias Koteas shows up as Man On Train, only to disappear for most of the rest of the film – again, the film is drained of suspense because anyone who recognises his face will know he'll be back again later.
It's safe to assume that the film has been considerably hacked around in the editing room (plus the ending has obviously been reshot to appease test audiences), but all the same, the plot never flows properly and none of it makes any sense at all once the key twist is revealed.
Dream House is a messy, disappointing thriller that fails to engage on any level whatsoever. Watch the trailer instead.