Some say that all houses have memories. For one man, his home is the place he would kill to forget. A family unknowingly moves into a home where several grisly murders were committed...only to find themselves the killer's next target. Successful publisher Will Atenton (Craig) quit a job in New York City to relocate his wife, Libby (Weisz), and two girls to a quaint New England town. But as they settle into their new life, they discover their perfect home was the murder scene of a mother and her children. And the entire city believes it was at the hands of the husband who survived. When Will investigates the tragedy, his only lead comes from Ann Paterson (Watts), a neighbor who was close to the family that died. As Will and Ann piece together the disturbing puzzle, they discover that the story of the last man to leave Will's dream house will be just as horrifying to the one who came next
NEW YORK – Daniel Craig and rachel Weisz at least got a marriage out of Dream House, which might be one reason to keep the title in their bios. But co-star Naomi Watts, director Jim Sheridanand pretty much everyone else involved in this inert misfire are going to want to forget it fast. That goes double for whatever audience Universal’s thrill-deprived pseudo-supernatural psychological chiller can muster.
Given that the trailer already divulges the film’s big twist, while dishonestly selling it as The Shining in leafy suburbia, the mystery is not what happened in the residence of the title, or who killed the family that once lived there. The real puzzler is what merit did this project initially show to attract such pedigree talent, not to mention a director who has carved a career telling emotionally engaging stories about real characters. Nothing in David Loucka's hackneyed genre mishmash of a script – or at least what made it to the screen -- will supply the answer.
Will Atenton (Craig) quits his job as a star editor at a New York publishing house to spend more time with his wife (Weisz) and their two adorable daughters (Taylor Geare, Claire Astin Gaere) while working on his novel. But they barely settle into their small-town New England home when bumps in the night, faces at the window and teenage Goths holding candlelight rituals in the basement start creeping everybody out. The family’s neighbor (Watts) obviously knows plenty but isn’t talking, while her angry ex-husband (Martin Csokas) snarls with such sadistic menace we suspect he knows even more.
Will learns that the wife and children of the family who lived in the house before them were murdered five years earlier, and that the father was suspected but never convicted of the killings, spending the interim period in a psychiatric facility. As he begins digging into the investigation, poring over news coverage, questioning cops and doctors, looking at old surveillance tapes, he makes an alarming discovery. But anyone who has ever seen a family-in-peril horror movie will be ahead of him, only to have the rug pulled out from under their expectations by the more-than-faintly ludicrous developments of Loucka’s screenplay.
Dream House seems uncertain what kind of movie it wants to be. It’s an old-fashioned haunted-house tale, a poignant story of ghosts conjured out of grief, a warped-perception mindbender, a reality-based murder mystery, a solve-it-yourself audience challenge. But in the end it’s none of the above, just a convoluted yawn.
Sheridan approaches the material as somber drama, bringing a restraint that’s classy, if unjustified. But he rarely cranks the tension above a mild hum, and the crescendo of violence and danger in the inorganic final act, as the true villains step forward, is too silly and over-plotted to fuel either suspense or shocks.
Cinematographer Caleb Deschanel is probably incapable of shooting a film that doesn’t look decent, and in another context, the snowy settings might be atmospheric, while the lustrous, warm interiors of the early action might encourage us to invest in the loving family at the story’s center. But the movie is too terminally muddled even to offer visual pleasures, though Craig fans will be pleased that no mere New England winter can force buff Will to keep his shirt on for long.
Watts has little to do but look fretful and compassionate, while Craig and Weisz deliver the required picture of blissful domesticity under threat, despite being undermined at every step by Loucka’s script. The two actors do display an easy chemistry and tenderness that hints at the romance blossoming off-camera, where let’s just assume they were having a better time.
Dream House est déterminé par la construction d'un scénario "à trucs" qui, pour tenir vaguement debout (il n'y parvient pas), imagine d'absu...
Mêlant avec plus ou moins de réussite l'intrigue psychologique et le film d'horreur, Dream House fonctionne comme un voyage initiatique jusqu'aux confins de la folie. Ici, la réalité n'est pas ce qu'elle prétend être et les rêves se transforment en cauchemars.