Horror review: Dream House

dream-house-movie-2011

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, OCT. 3, 2011

By Steve Newton

Before reviewing Dream House, I tried to ignore the trailers constantly airing between my fave shows on Comedy Central, but I still got the impression that it was a Shining-like supernatural horror flick about a family menaced by evil spirits. Turns out it’s something a little more interesting than that.

And I do mean little.

Daniel Craig stars as Will Atenton, who we meet as he’s quitting his executive job at a Manhattan publishing house so he can move out to rural New England, write his first novel, and spend more time with his doting wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz), and adorable little girls (sisters Taylor and Claire Geare).

The blissful couple forgot to do any research before buying the place, though, so they don’t know that a notorious mass murder took place there five years earlier. They start piecing this old news together after a clunky scene in which Will scares off a gaggle of ’80s-looking goth-punk teens performing a séance in his basement.

More groan-inducing action follows when he’s threatened in his driveway by an unknown assailant trying to run him over and the best “James Bond” can do to protect himself is stand directly in front of the grill.

Shadowy figures spy on the Atenton’s house; the neighbours act weird; and the local cops are useless. So Will does some investigating of his own, and that’s when Dream House’s crudely injected plot twist makes you go: “Hey, what about all that other shit I just saw!”

At that point, Dream House makes an unwieldy transition from haunted-house flick to psychological mystery-thriller without the thrills. And the only real mystery is why some A-list actors and a director of Jim (My Left Foot) Sheridan’s calibre would even ponder working on such an uncalled-for project in the first place.

The movie did allow costars Craig and Weisz to meet on-set and get married, though, so that’s nice.

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