Western Courier

‘Dream House’ fails to deliver thrills

Jake DeSalvo Courier Staff

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The trouble with advertising a mystery, horror or thriller movie is that you can tell a lot by what happens in the trailer. In the case of “Dream House,” you really don’t need to go beyond the TV ads to get the most out of the film.

Starring Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts, “Dream House” is brimming with talent that went otherwise wasted. The film opens with Craig leaving his job to spend more time on writing a novel and be with his family. They’ve moved to a small suburb where they mean to restore a house and live quietly. What we soon learn is that the last family to live in this house suffered tragedy in the form of the father shooting the children and the mother. After getting shot in the head himself, he was condemned to a

mental institution.

The realtor failed to mention these events to Craig when buying the house, and his family quickly becomes the victim of stalkers, delinquent trespassing, and the apparent return of the house’s previous owner Peter Ward.

Cinematically, the movie was shot well. Nothing in particular was memorable or even exciting, but the focus on the actors over the action was a nice touch, particularly with Craig driving the story. The glaring problem with this was how obviously it gave away the twists of the movie. With nothing else to focus on, one character giving another a funny look obviously gives away the

coming scenes.

Craig played his role well, and it was nice to see him in a docile American role over his usual rich guy and man-of-intrigue attire. He took the script and ran with it, fueling the movie with quality despite the snail’s pace of a script. Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts played their roles well, but their roles felt like they were only used as plot devices more than

actual characters.

The pacing, however, was abysmal. The first hour of this movie moved with energy of a sloth on opiates, only to get slightly more interesting as the first plot twist emerged. This wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t both glaringly obvious and given away in the trailer for the film. The climax of the film drops two more plot twists on you in a ten minute span, bringing back characters you haven’t seen for over an hour and completely ruining about forty minutes’ worth of character development.

“Dream House” is a movie I had a problem with while they were only running trailers for it. If at any point I am watching a movie preview and they give away the big twist to the movie, I feel like there’s something wrong with that movie. This doesn’t always ring true, however. The trailer for “Cast Away” with Tom Hanks gives away the entire movie, opening shot to close, and it’s still a good movie. Things like that help me keep an open mind.

Director Jim Sheridan has worked with a lot of big names, including the neurotically genius Daniel Day-Lewis, and has a career of movies under his belt dating back twenty years. It’s a dirty shame that a movie with the talent and production quality such as “Dream House” suffered from one of the most inappropriately paced scripts I’ve ever

witnessed performed.

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‘Dream House’ fails to deliver thrills