Review: Dream House (2011)


“Once upon a time, there were two little girls who lived in a house.”
– Will Atenton

Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) moves his family into what is supposed to be his dream house, a new start on their lives and a positive spin on their future. His wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz) is an artist, and takes to moving into a new home with gusto. Their two daughters, Dee Dee (Claire Geare) and Trish (Taylor Geare), move with them. One evening, the girls come screaming to their father, who is trying to write his new novel after resigning from the publishing business – there is a man outside, a man with a funny face.

dream house familyWill does not take kindly to this, and soon discovers that some man has indeed been watching his family. He attempts to keep it under wraps in fear of scaring his family and ruining their dream of staying together in peace, love and harmony, but Libby knows he is keeping too much to himself. The house’s past is revealed: a family was brutally murdered in the house by the father, who was the only survivor even though his wife shot him in the head.

Teenagers gather in the basement, worshiping Peter Ward in that sick way children do when they are obsessed with death but lack the understanding that comes with it. Will banishes them from the house, but he needs to know more about the house, and goes on a mission to find out what really happened to the family that night, and wonders why the police are not very helpful in catching the perpetrator that has been stalking his family, and why the neighbours treat him the way they do. His neighbour, Ann Patterson (Naomi Watts) is more forgiving, and seems to have a soft spot for Will.

But what happens when you find out you are looking for the wrong answers? Will’s life collapses when he makes the gruesome discovery that he is Peter Ward, that he killed his family, and that he was the lone survivor. The elaborate world that has been created in his head and fueled by his dream house prevent his family from ever really leaving him alone, and Ann lets Peter know that she does not think he killed his family.

Can they piece together the mystery of what happened that night? Is Peter, in actual fact, the killer of his family, and will he have to find a way to come to terms with that? Will Peter ever find a way to move on with his life and bear the stigma of being labelled a psychopathic murderer?

I rate Dream House scores 5.5/10. I was lost for a little when they let the Peter Ward cat out of the bag so early, and they floundered for a while and then found their footing again. I really did not know what they were going to do with the movie after the big secret dropped, but they managed. I felt Dream House was an exceptionally sad movie, and it was actually pretty depressing at times. It was not a phenomenal movie, but truly it had its moments, and the execution was not too shabby, either. There were some serious plot holes, but not so severe (well, a little) as to cast the movie into oblivion. Overall, worth a look see at the very least.