Will Atenton finally decides to leave the big city world of publishing to settle down with his family in a picture perfect sleepy neighbourhood home. But Will soon discovers that this house is home to a collection of brutal murders with killer still at large and a mystery only he can solve.
Sigh. I love supernatural thrillers, mainly because like Fantasy, there’s so much you can do with the premise that it’s almost impossible to go wrong if you take the time to create a story with intrigue and depth, two things this film could’ve easily displayed but instead fail to produce. In a depressing day and age when lazy egos push unforgivable nonsense like PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3, I can’t say I’m surprised by the lack of originality shown in DREAM HOUSE, but that doesn’t mean I’m not bothered by it. I’m not saying that every thriller, supernatural or otherwise, needs to be the next SIXTH SENSE, but as James Wan’s deliciously evil INSIDIOUS showed us, it can indeed still be done. Such victories are few and far between however, and DREAM HOUSE is a fine example of what not to do.
The story is far too simplistic and by the numbers for starters, with a plotline whose dots even the most novice of movie goers will connect all too quickly. Of course, it’s not terribly difficult to do so when the bulk of the mystery is lifted by the trailers. There aren’t many different things happening in this film aside from Daniel Craig’s character’s quest for knowledge when it comes to who murdered his family. The trailer shows you they’re dead. It shows you that he’s seeing them anyway. It shows you he was in a mental institution and that everyone suspects he did it, and it shows you that he hooks up with his hot neighbour (Naomi Watts) to “figure out the mystery”. These things essentially ARE the film, all that’s left to the imagination is the ending, which was a poorly conceived dose of drivel that will have you shaking your head and wondering why you didn’t just light ten bucks on fire rather than spend it on this film. Harsh yes, but unfortunately true.
Clearly the studios were hoping that Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts would be enough to sell the package. If only. Craig’s done well for himself, reinvigorating the stuffy Bond series that had been leaning on its last leg for quite some time before CASINO ROYALE parted the sea. Truth be told he was the one thing this flick had going for it in my eyes. Weisz didn’t amuse me past the first MUMMY film and Watts, though I loved her in FUNNY GAMES, isn’t much of a favorite of mine either. But even the best cast can only work with what they’re given and how can we expect much from the director of GET RICH OR DIE TRYIN’ and the writer of EDDIE…or any film starring Whoopi Goldberg for that matter.
DREAM HOUSE is prime example of how and why Hollywood is in trouble, not only because of its lack of creativity, taste, tact and shame but because for all these fine (and painfully obvious points) they still managed to collect A-list actors to play out this pitiful drama. Okay, I’ll admit that when I watched SHUTTER ISLAND for the first time I had the ending figured out ten minutes into the film, but I still had fun with it. I know I can’t always be surprised like I was when I watched THE UNINVITED (a stellar supernatural thriller), but I, like all of you, deserve to see effort at the very least. Make me believe you actually tried to put something together of worth for the sake of my entertainment, rather than churn a few more bucks out of the collective. This film is a letdown and utter disappointment.