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Dream House

MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for violence, terror, some sexuality and brief strong language.

Reviewed by: Pamela Karpelenia

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Mystery Thriller Drama
Year of Release:
USA Release:
September 30, 2011 (wide—2,600+ theaters)
DVD: January 31, 2012
Copyright, Universal Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Universal Pictures

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

relocating/moving a family to a different part of the country

murder in the Bible


Featuring: Daniel CraigWill Atenton
Naomi WattsAnn Patterson
Rachel WeiszLibby Atenton
Marton Csokas … Jack Patterson
Claire Geare … Dee Dee
Taylor Geare … Trish
Rachel G. Fox … Chloe Patterson
Mark Wilson … Dennis Conklin
See all »
Director: Jim Sheridan—“In America,” “Brothers,” “In the Name of the Father,” “My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown”
Producer: Cliffjack Motion Pictures
Morgan Creek Productions
Daniel Bobker … producer
Mike Drake … executive producer
Ehren Kruger … producer
David C. Robinson … producer
James G. Robinson … producer
Distributor: Universal Pictures

“Everyone who lives in this house gets killed.”

“Dream House” begins with a retirement party for Will (Daniel Craig). Will has decided to take time off of work to fix up his dream house with his wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and their two daughters. Soon after they begin reconstruction, strange things start to happen. Will sees his neighbor (Naomi Watts) dealing with a tense custody exchange, which only adds to the uneasiness. After finding some goth teens in his basement, Will quickly learns about the murders that took place in his dream house. It’s only when Will goes to investigate the murders that the true mystery unfolds.

The acting of the three leads is bland, at first, but the story develops, the acting appears to get better. The plot is straight forward, but you still have to pay attention. With a running time of 92 minutes, I risk of giving too much away, so I save the rest for my conclusion.

I counted about 10 blasphemies, all unnecessary and offensive. There is bloody imagery of gunshot wounds on little girls and a moderately violent fight scene. There is a brief scene of Will in a tub, but no nudity is shown.

The film deals with death, tragedy and guilt, and how it can manifest in a person’s life. We see Will’s journey to uncover the truth about what really happened in his house.

When things get out of control in life, we search for truth and for understanding.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, , and he will make straight your paths” —Proverbs 3:5-6.

As I watched the trailer for this film, I thought it gave too much away, and I was right, sort of. It doesn’t tell you the whole story, but it gives you big hints about what to expect. I found this film very short, but watchable, except for the blasphemies.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Negative—“Dream House” might have worked, if it hadn’t been for its trailer. It definitely would have worked significantly better, if the trailer had been done correctly. You see, the trailer for “Dream House” gives away a major plot twist(in my opinion, THE major plot twist). I went to see the film anyway, because director Jim Sheridan said that the twist doesn’t give away the ending and that it happens less than half the way through the film. With all due respect, I have to say “excuses, excuses.”

While the twist comes at about the halfway mark (in my opinion, at least), as a result of knowing it just about everything that comes before it becomes moot. Then the twist is revealed, then it has to be dealt with, then we get another mystery, but that one is not anywhere near as compelling as the one the trailer gave away, and the climax is strictly routine. I spent most of “Dream House” waiting for the twist, so that I could put it behind me and get on with the story, and then, when it was finally over and done with, there doesn’t seem to be much of the film left. I left the theatre saying “is that it?”

On the plus side, “Dream House” is well acted by Daniel Craig, Naomi Watts, and Rachel Weisz, and there are some truly touching moments (especially a conversation between Craig and Watts” daughter). But giving away the twist pretty much gave away the film. Roger Ebert said that trailers need to give you “a smell, not a taste” of the film. The final scene is one of the worst I’ve seen in recent memory.

“Dream House” does contain violence and brief profanity, but is overall not offensive and lives up to its PG-13 rating.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 2
Andrew, age 35 (USA)
Movie Critics
“…Despite the talent involved, this is more a snooze than a dream. …a thrill-deprived, inert misfire…”
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
“…so misbegotten and awkward that one has to assume there was some serious after-the-fact tampering by a committee of lunatics. … [D+]”
L. Thompson, E!
“…blessed with a cast of this caliber, a film should be able to boast of more than how well Mr. Craig fills out a T-shirt. …”
Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times
“…convoluted mess… [C-]”
Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
“…a rather silly, cynical bit of cinema—its promising setup devolving into a basket of loose ends and ludicrous twists. The same could said of its spirituality. And its bursts of positivity too. …”
Paul Asay, Plugged In
“…two decent chills… Universal’s best wedding present to the lovebirds would have been to shuttle this one, which they knew was damaged goods, straight to video.”
Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
“…a peculiar mishmash that is being sold as if it were a horror movie, which it isn’t. …nothing that makes it worth seeing.”
Chris Hewitt, St. Paul Pioneer Press

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