Synopsis: Will Atenten (Daniel Craig) has just moved into a new house after leaving the company he’s worked at for five years. He wants to write a book and live at home with his beautiful wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz) and their two perfect children Trish (Taylor Geare) and cutie-pie Dee Dee (Claire Geare). To the untrained eye, this is the American dream. Libby paints and dotes lovingly upon her husband and the two girls are mostly seen and not heard. Only, something is terribly wrong here. Everyone is treating Will as though he is somehow not welcome. Perhaps he had a bad dinner party and offended all of his neighbors. If only it were that simple. The truth lies deep within the nooks and crannies of the small community in which Will once lead a happy life.
What a promising story! A mysterious psychological thriller is typically a big crowd pleaser. While this movie sort of leaves the audience guessing until the end, I was not on the edge of my seat. In fact, I was sitting – head in hand – wishing for this movie to end. I didn’t care if everyone in the film lived or died. I just wanted it to be over. How can a plot like this one fail so miserably? The words aggressively bad come to mind when I am asked what I thought of Dream House.
Let’s take a look at where this movie went wrong. First off, I believe that a movie can have too much story. When a filmmaker tries to cram in too much detail, the whole thing can come off the rails very easily. In the way that Nightmare on Elm Street keeps the viewer guessing as far as what’s real and what is a dream, this movie had the right idea in doing the same sort of thing. The only problem is that it didn’t do it right and therefore became a failure from the get-go. As a clever moviegoing public, we are trained to weed out the unnecessary bits in films like this one. If I were to do that, I’d say that the movie was approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes too long.
The characters were another problem. Ann Patterson (Naomi Watts) is Will’s neighbor. She is the only person outside of his house who is nice to him when he returns. Her perfectly shaped eyebrows spend most of the film furrowed and she often looks worried, but it doesn’t come across as sincere to me. None of the characters in this movie do. Everyone seems confused more than anything. And even though we know that Ann is the key to uncovering Will’s troubled past, it is still all so hard to swallow.
Possibly the biggest problem for me was the soundtrack. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I am a soundtrack enthusiast. I love a good score and when the music in a movie matches up in that perfect harmony with what is happening on-screen it is some sort of magic. The music for Dream House is offensive. The idea of the soundtrack is to capture the moment. Hearing that music later takes you back to the emotion you felt. It sounds cheesy, but it’s so true. I don’t know how they screwed that part up so badly, but they did it. Boy oh boy, did they do it.
Save your money, readers. It won’t be long before Dream House hits NetFlix instant or drops into a $5 discount bin at a Wal-Mart near you. One night when you’ve had too much to drink and there is absolutely, positively nothing else on, you can fall asleep to this wretched mistake and know that you didn’t miss a thing.