Dream House

By CosmicTwin3

2011 Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts. Directed by Jim Sheridan.

Anyone who has the slightest interest in basic psychology or dream interpretation probably knows the significance of a house – the family’s home – as a symbol for something else: the “self.” Upper floors in the house represent the higher consciousness while the basement represents the basic, primal, hidden aspects of the personality, and sometimes even the darker, negative desires. In other words, the condition of the house reflects the subject’s state of mind.

Dream House opens with Daniel Craig’s character choosing to leave a lucrative, successful job in the city to move to a suburban home with his wife (Rachel Weisz) and two little girls, where he will be a full-time writer. This is the house of their dreams where they spend their days painting and decorating, basking in their good fortune and the love they share.

It isn’t too long, though, before something sinister disturbs the tranquility of their idyllic existence. Strange and frightening figures lurk in the darkness outside, scaring the children as well as Mom and Dad. One night Dad is awakened by a strange noise and searches the house to find a group of teenage goths partying in the basement.

Dream House Movie Poster

In search of a reason for these happenings and protection for his family, Dad starts making inquiries and discovers that their “dream house” was the scene of a grisly murder five years before – a mother and two daughters were shot to death by their husband/father who was unable to stand trial for the murders due to his impaired mental state. He spent five years in a mental facility and has just been released. Could this be the man seen lurking in the shadows, watching the family who now occupy the house? Is he a danger to them? The one sympathetic neighbor (Naomi Watts) who talks to Daniel Craig also seems to be hiding something. Does she know something about the house or the murders that she isn’t willing to disclose?

Piecing together the puzzle of what’s going on takes Daniel Craig into some very dark corners of his own mind; the truth he discovers threatens not only his sanity but the very existence of his family. Before long the beautiful house of his dreams takes on the appearance of a deserted, dilapidated house of horrors. But how much is real – and how much is only in his mind?

Jim Sheridan has infused an otherwise run-of-the-mill suspense film with believable scenarios, relying not on shock and gore as so-called “entertainment,” choosing instead to thoroughly develop sympathetic and likable characters. Even when what you might think is the “big reveal” occurs sooner than expected, the story has you hooked and demands full attention through to the end. Daniel Craig’s excellent performance as a man driven to madness trying desperately to protect his family elevates it from a somewhat predictable thriller to an absorbing character study. A demonstration of his exceptional acting skills is provided while watching him come to the inevitable realization of the actual truth. And the one or two scenes giving us a satisfying look at those ripped abs doesn’t hurt a bit.

Two boxes of popcorn

Cosmic Twins rating: Double Serving

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4 thoughts on “Dream House

  1. Thank you for that review, sounds intriguing. I used to love horrors and thrillers. Now I’m scared of them, but the way you described this, makes it worth to watch. I may give it a try. I’m not a huge fan of Daniel Craig, though I’d rather like him. I know him only from James Bond series. So it will be interesting to find out, how good actor he is.

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    • Hi Mermon! Good to see you here! Daniel Craig is actually very good, although he is mostly known to many people only as James Bond. Dream House isn’t the best thriller ever, far from it, but I thought it was interesting and very entertaining, mostly due to his convincing portrayal of a man desperately trying to hold on to his family as well as his sanity.

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  2. I have to say, I saw this movie with you, and I know we had different reactions. I think Daniel Craig was wonderful, but I felt like the movie overall was way too predictable to really be considered a thriller. Rachel Weisz was great too and normally I love Naomi Watts because she always delivers a solid performance. But this time, I just don’t feel like her part was written well and it left her portrayal looking very two-dimensional. It was not a bad movie, but I think I would have been satisfied just renting it.

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