Despite the star power of Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, and the always enjoyable Elias Koteas, combined with the direction of Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In The Name of The Father), Dream House (2011) never takes off. In fact, for a win with a bad pun, Dream House needs some serious remodeling.
The problem seems to lie in the attempt to merge too many genres into one film. At first, it’s actually appealing. It creates the hope that something unexpected will happen. But it quickly serves to limit the script, the actors, and the drama.
Dream House begins with Craig leaving his job in an unnamed metropolis to move out of town and spend more time with his family while writing a novel. With the discovery that the previous owners of the home were murdered, the film quickly tries to move from romantic drama to murder mystery, and it works… a little.
But it then tries to change gears again – even more quickly – by adding psychological drama as Craig is forced to doubt reality. He too quickly gives in, but that was necessary to then move on to both crime drama and ghost story, both simultaneously.
The sad thing is that I could see these elements actually working, if brought together with the flow of time and attention to details which a novel can take, while a movie can’t.
In the end, I’d say it’s not a bad way to spend a hot summer afternoon when I had nothing more exciting planned, but I wouldn’t rate it high enough to even watch if it came on free TV.
For a better scare (even though the ending leaves something to be desired), I’d recommend Sinister (2012) which more successfully melds several genres together, while still remembering the ultimate goal of suspense. Or check out these Indie horror flicks .