Dream House (film)

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Dream House
Two girls holding hands, their dresses match the wallpaper behind them.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJim Sheridan
Produced by
Written byDavid Loucka
Starring
Music byJohn Debney
CinematographyCaleb Deschanel
Editing byBarbara Tulliver
StudioMorgan Creek Productions
Distributed byUniversal Pictures (USA)
Warner Bros. (UK)
Release dates
  • September 30, 2011 (2011-09-30)
Running time92 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Canada
LanguageEnglish
Budget$50 million[2]
Box office$38,502,340
 
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Dream House
Two girls holding hands, their dresses match the wallpaper behind them.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJim Sheridan
Produced by
Written byDavid Loucka
Starring
Music byJohn Debney
CinematographyCaleb Deschanel
Editing byBarbara Tulliver
StudioMorgan Creek Productions
Distributed byUniversal Pictures (USA)
Warner Bros. (UK)
Release dates
  • September 30, 2011 (2011-09-30)
Running time92 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Canada
LanguageEnglish
Budget$50 million[2]
Box office$38,502,340

Dream House is a 2011 American psychological thriller written by David Loucka directed by Jim Sheridan and starring Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, and Marton Csokas.[3] It was released on September 30, 2011 in the United States and Canada by Universal Pictures and Morgan Creek Productions to mostly negative reviews and low box office results.

Plot[edit]

Will Atenton (Daniel Craig), his wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz), and two daughters, Trish and Dee Dee, have recently moved to a new house.

At first, the family lives there happily but soon Will's children start seeing a man watching the house from the front yard, and Will and Libby find evidence that something has happened to the house's previous owners. Will eventually discovers that, 5 years prior, a woman named Elizabeth and her daughters Beatrice and Katherine were murdered; her husband, Peter Ward, was the main suspect, but he was let off because of lack of evidence and mentally wasn't able to face trial. Will comes to believe that Peter Ward is stalking his family, and starts searching for more information about him.

Will's research leads him to the psychiatric hospital where Ward was committed after being arrested for the murders. There, Will discovers that he is Peter Ward, and that he created a new identity for himself in order to cope with the grief of his family's death. When he was still in the mental hospital, he decided that he could not have been Peter Ward because he would never kill his family; he made up a new name in which he used the numbers on his wrist band ID (W1-1L 8-10-10). In turn, the audience learns that everything that has occurred up to this point in the movie was just fantasy. Peter is informed by the doctors that he claimed he was innocent. He returns to his house, which is actually abandoned and decrepit, and converses with the projections of his wife and daughters, who claim that they believe in his innocence.

Peter does not remember anything prior to his release from the clinic to include his neighbor from across the street, Ann (Naomi Watts). He seems to realize that Ann and her daughter Chloe (Rachel G. Fox) were friends of his family before the murders. Ann believes in his innocence, but stays quiet about the murders until he starts to realize that he is Peter, and not Will and starts asking questions. Peter eventually decides to return to his old house to confront his memories and, with Ann's help, realizes that he did not kill his family; a local man named Boyce (Elias Koteas) broke into the house and shot Peter's wife and daughters. After being fatally wounded, Elizabeth tried to shoot Boyce and accidentally shot Peter, allowing Boyce to escape. Peter was then accused of the murder.

Peter and Ann are suddenly attacked by Boyce and Ann's ex-husband, Jack, who reveals that he had hired Boyce to kill Ann so he could get revenge on her for divorcing him. Apparently, Boyce entered the wrong house and accidentally killed Peter's family. Jack decides to kill Ann and set the house on fire, framing Peter for her murder, and shoots Boyce as punishment for his early failure. As Jack tries to ignite a fire, Peter's dead wife manifests herself to wake Peter from being unconscious and distracts Jack. Peter overpowers Jack and saves Ann and escapes. Boyce douses Jack in gasoline as revenge for being shot, and Jack shoots him in the head before being consumed by the flames.

While Ann and Chloe re-unite, Peter reenters the burning house and confronts the ghosts of his family; they forgive him and tell him to leave to save himself. Peter barely escapes the fire, having finally discovered the truth about the past and accepted his family's deaths. On his way out, he recovers the journal he had hidden under a stair tread.

A year later, Peter returns to New York City and publishes a book called Dream House about his experiences, which becomes a bestseller.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Director Jim Sheridan clashed with Morgan Creek’s James G. Robinson constantly on the set over the shape of the script and production of the film.[4] Sheridan then tried to take his name off the film after being unhappy with the film and his relationship with Morgan Creek Productions.[5]

Sheridan, Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz disliked the final cut of the film so much that they refused to do press promotion or interviews for it.[6] The trailer, cut by Morgan Creek Productions, came under fire for revealing the main plot twist of the film.[6]

Soundtrack[edit]

Dream House: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by John Debney
Released11 October 2011
Recorded2011
GenreSoundtrack
Length56:47
LabelVarèse Sarabande
ProducerStephanie Pereida
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic3.5/5 stars link
Filmtracks4/5 stars link

The score to Dream House was composed by John Debney and conducted by Robert Ziegler. Christian Clemmensen, reviewer of Filmtracks.com, gave it four out of five stars, declaring it "among the biggest surprises of 2011" and stating, "It's not clear how badly Debney's work for Dream House was butchered by the studio's frantic last minute attempts to make the film presentable, but Debney's contribution does feature a cohesive flow of development that is, at least on album, a worthy souvenir from this otherwise messy situation."[7] The soundtrack was released 11 October 2011 and features fifteen tracks of score at a running time of fifty-six minutes.


No.TitleLength
1."Dream House"  5:36
2."Little Girls Die"  2:53
3."Footprints in the Snow"  3:17
4."Peter Searches"  6:00
5."Night Fever"  1:33
6."Intruders"  1:41
7."Libby Sees Graffiti"  2:33
8."Peter Ward's Room"  2:10
9."Ghostly Playthings"  3:17
10."Peter Ward's Story"  3:13
11."Ghost House"  2:37
12."Remember Libby"  4:05
13."Murder Flashback"  3:59
14."Peter Saves Ann/Redemption"  7:29
15."Dream House End Credits"  5:55

Reception[edit]

The film was not screened in advance for critics, and was critically panned. Review aggregation Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 6% based on reviews from 82 critics, with a rating average of 3.7 out of 10 and an audience rating of 35%. The consensus states: "Dream House is punishingly slow, stuffy and way too obvious to be scary."[8] Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a score of 35/100 based on 16 reviews.[9]

References[edit]

External links[edit]