In journalism school, I learned that every great news article should contain the same six components: the five W’s and an H, criteria, I feel, that can be must amusingly applied to the new film Dream House.
Who: Four A-list foreigners doing their best to capture the Americana fright on upstate New York. This includes Irish director Jim Sheridan and Britain-born Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, and Naomi Watts.
What: New family moves into a house with a murderous past. You know the drill.
Where: Upstate New York.
When: Present, with flashes of five years ago.
Why: Now, herein lies our dilemma: why the hell would any of the aforementioned stars take part in such a wasted, pointless film? Money, I assume. Or maybe it was the chance to work with Sheridan, who achieved greatness with My Left Foot, The Boxer, In America, and especially In the Name of the Father, but has since hit a series of missteps after Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and Brothers.
While the actors’ motivations are puzzling, they aren’t the main setback for Dream House. Part of the problem is the film’s trailer, which reveals the movie’s big twist. If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve essentially seen all there is to see. Another gapping issue are the 30 some odd minutes that follow the twist, when the film tries to retread and make up for all its faults. It is in those 30 minutes that the three stars and the film’s director contribute the worst work of their respective careers.
Don’t get me wrong, the film is already deep in eye rolling shit long before the obvious twist reveals itself. By this point, there’s no turning back, and it is utterly embarrassing to watch the actors try to dig their way out of a mindless script that eventually takes them nowhere.
Apparently I’m not alone. According to several sources, Craig, Weisz and Sheridan were so appalled by the final cut of this film, which was taken away from Sheridan by Morgan Creek Productions, that they refused to do any sort of press to promote the film. That’s all well and good, but honestly, How much different could the final cut have been?
A movie has to seriously piss me off to receive the lowest of all ratings. Usually, it must be offensive in some way. This offensiveness can manifest itself racially (as in here), historically (as in here) or creatively, as is the case with Dream House. This film isn’t just bad, it’s an egregious waste of time brought to you by people who should know better. F