By: Lawrence Foster
Rating: 4 out of 10
Ninety minutes later, however, I left the theater wishing I had watched 50/50 instead.
Dream House isn’t terrible, but the final 20 minutes of the film completely ruin a great foundation.
For the first 70 minutes, I was neither impressed or turned off by anything that had happened and DH was headed for a middle-of-the-road rating. The final act of the film changed all of that and lowered the rating a full UFO.
For those who missed out on the previews, DH is about a book editor, Will Atenton (Craig), who has decided to quit his job in the big city and pen a novel in a suburban home that he shares with his wife Libby (Weisz) and two young daughters Trish and Dee Dee (Taylor Geare and Clair Geare).
Soon after things start to go wrong as Atenton finds out that a family was murdered in the house. One aspect I did like was that DH puts a different twist on the old “haunted-house-because-of-murder” genre. That being said, I HATED that a previous trailer had ruined the twist. I will not ruin it for those who were lucky enough to miss it.
After the major twist, the film turns into something that I was partial to because of my parents’ work in the mental health field: A study of how people can deal with tragedy and the long and difficult process of healing the mind. That is where the movie shines, when Craig is at the forefront dealing with his demons. While Craig is most widely known as James Bond, he is able to display his versatility with his not-all-there character.
Based on just the first 70 minutes, I was ready to give the film a six. The final 20 minutes was so terrible that it lowered it to a four. My issue with the ending is that it is so different from the rest of the film. The majority of DH is smart and not too far from reality. The final act seems like it was tacked on to make it more “Hollywoodish” and ultimately ruins the overall experience of the film, which is unfortunate.
Aside from the final 20 minutes, one of my biggest problems with the film was the chemistry between Craig and Weisz. Their romantic moments come across as forced and Craig’s interaction with his children is even more so. That is a huge problem based on how the film goes.
Dream House was disappointing, but if you can overlook the final 20 minutes and appreciate psychological thrillers, you may enjoy it. Otherwise, go catch 50/50.