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DVD Review: ‘Dream House’

★☆☆☆☆

Starring Skyfall (2012) lead/007 Daniel Craig, his real-life wife Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts, director Jim Sheridan’s supposed edge-of-your-seat mystery Dream House (2011) is more likely to have audiences dying of boredom than of fright due to its lacklustre production.

Will Atenton (Craig) and his wife Libby (Weisz) leave the scrum of New York City and relocate to the suburbs, so Will can devote his time to the bestselling novel he has always been itching to write. With their daughters Trish and Dee Dee (played by real-life sisters Taylor and Claire Geare), the couple move into a beautiful, if slightly dilapidated, house which has sat empty for five years, which they set about renovating with rigorous enthusiasm. However, it’s not long before they discover exactly why their new home has remained vacant for so long, and that what they believed to be their ‘dream house’ is more of a nightmare due to its violent and grisly past.

Although initial expectations may not have been sky-high ahead of Dream House‘s release, you’d be more than forgiven for anticipating something more inspiring than this lifeless haunted house/demented killer/madman hotchpotch, which is so unsure as to what it’s trying to be that it results in being very little of anything. Everything is confused, particularly towards the climax where the action jumps sporadically back and forth so much between reality and fantasy that you no longer know what’s real and what isn’t.

The neighbours’ reactions to Will and Libby’s efforts to get to the bottom of the mysterious incidents surrounding their new home (we won’t give you any spoilers), coupled with the local police forces’ unwillingness at helping them, is clearly meant to heighten tension, yet instead becomes just as irritating and frustrating for the viewer as for the bewildered couple. Sadly, David Loucka’s screenplay gives Craig little to do in moments of supposed horror other than shouting for Weisz to “get back in the house”.

Apparently – after a number of disagreements between Sheridan and the film’s studio Morgan Creek – the director, along with Craig, Weisz and Watts, refused to have anything to do with promoting the film to the press. After watching the abysmal Dream House, one can hardly blame them.

Cleaver Patterson