It’s all a bad ‘Dream House’

Article Published: Oct. 6, 2011 | Modified: Oct. 6, 2011
It’s all a bad ‘Dream House’

Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig star in ‘Dream House.’

To dream, most experts agree the dreamer should be asleep.

Fortunately, that’s not a problem with the so-called horror-thriller, “Dream House.”

If you’re still awake by the half-hour mark, consider it a waking nightmare, and just hang on for the laugh-out-loud climax.

But “Dream House” raises an important question: Where’s Freddy Krueger when you need him?
“Dream House,” put simply, is laughable, with an incredibly dull, drawn-out and predictable story nullifying any effort from its otherwise talented cast.

Celebrated director Jim Sheridan (“My Left Foot”) takes a drastic turn for the worse in adapting this flimsy screenplay from David Loucka (“The Dream Team”), resulting in a horror movie without horror, a thriller without thrills and a trailer that practically tells the whole story, only more effectively.

On first glance, “Dream House” looks like a psychological, gothic horror story. “Psychological” must have seemed too big a word, as the film takes everything far too literally. But, on the other hand, it leaves viewers wondering what the hell the filmmakers were thinking.

Daniel Craig (“Casino Royale”) plays Will Atenton, a writer who moves into his suburban dream house with wife Libby (Rachel Weisz, “The Lovely Bones”) and their two precocious daughters, Trish (Taylor Geare, “Inception”) and Dee Dee (little sister Claire Geare, also in “Inception”).

Their neighbors, however, don’t seem too sociable, giving them awkward stares instead of welcome-to-the-neighborhood fruit baskets. Will soon learns that his dream house was the site of a brutal triple murder five years ago, in which a wife and her two daughters were shot to death. The husband was the prime suspect, and, furthermore, he’s still on the loose.

When Dee Dee notices a hooded figure staring in a window, Will begins to take action, trying to get to the bottom of the mystery before it endangers his own family.

Neighbor Ann Patterson (Naomi Watts, “King Kong”) is there to help. Or something.

Quite frankly, the only thing memorable about “Dream House” is its shoddy craftsmanship. An outhouse has more depth than this picture, and the comparisons don’t stop there.

The cast is outstanding, but there’s just nothing for them to work with, as “Dream House” lumbers along like some disoriented houseguest on New Year’s Day. But its main shortcoming is its underestimation of the audience.

At its foundation, “Dream House” seems like the perfect framework for psychological horror, maybe even calling on 1980’s “The Shining” for inspiration. But that’s just not the case. Sheridan and company have produced a dumbed-down exercise in tedium, maybe at the studio’s behest for that all-too profitable PG-13 rating, or maybe not.

It’s hard to say, but “Dream House” is just hard to watch.

“Dream House,” rated PG-13 for violence, terror, some sexuality and brief strong language, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, see page 15B or visit

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