johnlink ranks DREAM HOUSE (2011)

Seeing the word HOUSE in a movie title usually implies horror, ghosts, or something suspenseful. I’m not sure why that is (and there are certainly exceptions), but its a fairly safe rule of thumb to live by. So here is DREAM HOUSE, a film which does not fall into the horror genre, though it does fall into the spooky-ghost sub-genre.

I watched DREAM HOUSE (2011) on 10.4.12. It was my first viewing of the film.

Apparently, this film had some major post-production problems. Director Jim Sheridan, with titles on his resume like MY LEFT FOOT and IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, did a bunch of tweaking on the script. The studio wasn’t thrilled with the result, and stepped in with its right to get the final cut. Then the trailer came out and spoiled one of the major twists of the film (something I won’t do here). Sheridan tried to get his name pulled off the credits, stars Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, and Naomi Watts distanced themselves from the film and refused to do publicity for it, and the critics were more than happy to step on it with their literary foot.

The movie I saw wasn’t as bad as all that would make you think (and I did not know about any of it as I watched). I will say that the transitional scenes were clunky, chunks felt like they were missing, and the movie ends with one of the all-time-bad cheesy button scenes which just totally dismiss any of the weight the film tried to hold.

The performances are not bad at all. While they are certainly working on a film below their collective abilities, Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz are very believable as a married couple with two young girls and a brand new house (Craig, especially, makes a nice transition through the course of this film). In fact, Craig and Weisz met and hit it off so well on this film, that they soon were married in reality as well. Hopefully, the success of their marriage is not tied into the success of DREAM HOUSE.

There are some nice scenes of suspense here as the house turns out to have a brutal history and the neighbors and police are very weary of the inhabitants. Also, there is one heck of a reveal halfway through the film, though the reveal is somewhat clunky, and it certainly makes you feel cheated. But the movie plows ahead regardless, and it can almost make up for the oversights made. The biggest problem is that the first half of this movie is much more entertaining than the second half. If the post-reveal stuff felt like it held some weight, than the entertainment drop-off would be acceptable. But because the entire thing feels unnatural, nobody wins.

I usually say that I’m glad I saw something once, and I suppose that is true even of DREAM HOUSE. However, I really lament not having the film these folks might have made. Ultimately, the end result of DREAM HOUSE is that it is a film which does not need to exist.






~ by johnlink00 on October 5, 2012.

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