**Warning – Review Contains Spoilers**
Dream House is one of those films that could easily be spoiled, thus ruining the enjoyment of it. However, the marketing people at the film studio decided to ignore this completely and give away some of the more interesting twists of the film. Luckily, I didn’t pay much attention and therefor it meant I was surprised by the twists.
The plot of the film is very simple. Will Atetenton and his family move out of the city and into the suburbs. This is everything that they dreamed of, but very soon after they start to settle into the house, they find out that it was the scene of the brutal murder of the previous residents. It then transpires that they are next on the perpetrators hit list and thus there Dream House turns into a nightmare.
This film really is up there with The Sixth Sense due to the fact that the filmmakers take you down one road, only to take a sharp left and you realise that this is has all been a well-constructed charade.
The plot is pretty simple, but it does play on your fears when you move into a new house. You are only taking it at face value when you look at the place. That fresh coat of paint could be hiding a number of things, though covering up a murder is pretty extreme. Yet, a new home is the biggest purchase you can make, so to find out it was a crime scene would put a big dent on it, especially when you have a mysterious figure lurking in the background and a group of occult worshiping teenagers holding séances in your basement. You would expect the local police force to help out and to investigate these disturbances. Yet, for some reason they don’t, leaving Will and his family to deal with it alone.
It is only when Will begins to investigate these murders further does he find out the truth and it is here where the studio really dropped the ball in the marketing of this film. Rather than hiding the fact that Will is in fact Peter Ward, the man who killed his wife and kids in that house five years earlier. He had been in a psychiatric unit for that time, due to the lack of evidence confirming he was the murderer. Will has been conferring and living a fantasy life with the ghosts of his family since being released. He returns to his house in order to try and find out what happens. Without spoiling it too much, the reason for their deaths is completely out of the blue and I didn’t guess it at all.
Craig manages to convey that of the family man really well and it shows a completely different side to him. Working with children can be difficult, but both Craig, Weisz, who plays his wife and the two children really do convey a loving family very well. You can believe that Craig would do anything for his family.
Apart from Weisz and the two little girls, the rest of the cast are really only there in a supporting role. You are not given very much screen time with any of them in order to get any insight into them. This should be a problem, but in this case it is the opposite. This all about Craigs character and his inability to differentiate between reality and fantasy. Right up to the last scene, you don’t know which way Will go. After he solves the mystery of their deaths, which was really a case of mistaken identity, I thought that he would choose to join his family by staying in the house as it burned to the ground. However, whether it was the ghost of his wife and children or a figment of his imagination, he escapes in order to publish his book.
Overall, this is a really good thriller with some slight supernatural twists to it. It kept me on the edge of my seat and there were a couple of times I did jump. True, the motive for the killing was a bit hazy but it wasn’t enough to really ruin the experience.
RATING: 3.5 Stars
DREAM HOUSE (2011)
DIRECTOR: Jim Sheridan
STARRING: Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts
GENRE: Horror, Thriller, Mystery