Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Dream House (2011)

Number Rolled: 32
Movie Name/Year: Dream House (2011)
Tagline: Once upon a time, there were two little girls who lived in a house.
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Drama
Length: 91 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: Cliffjack Motion Pictures, Morgan Creek Productions
Producer: Daniel Bobker, Mike Drake, Ehren Kruger, Rick Nicita, David Robinson, James G. Robinson
Director: Jim Sheridan
Writer: David Loucka
Actors: Daniel Craig, Naomi Watts, Rachel Weisz, Elias Koteas, Marton Csokas, Taylor Geare, Claire Geare, Rachel G. Fox, Jane Alexander, Brian Murray, Bernadette Quigley, Sarah Gadon, Gregory Smith, Mark Wilson, David Huband, Martin Roach, Jean Yoon, Lynne Griffin, Jonathan Potts
Stunt Doubles: Krista Bell, Garvin Cross, Patrick Mark, Christopher McGuire, Duncan McLeod

Blurb from Netflix: Abandoning high stress Manhattan, Will moves to a quiet New England town but learns that his new home was the site of several brutal murders.

Selina’s Point of View:
The trope used for Dream House was very typical, but the creators of this film offered a very different take on it. It was one of those situations where the big reveal you think is coming at the end, actually comes earlier and you’re left wondering what could possibly be next.

A lot of what followed the reveal was predictable, but it still had a unique quality because of how it was done.

The director, Jim Sheridan (The Secret Scripture, My Left Foot, In America), and writer, David Loucka (Eddie, Borderline, The Dream Team), managed to keep things subtle in a such a way that – even when I knew something was coming, it still had a touch of surprise to it. I really like when thrillers like this can do that. It elevates the film to something more than just your basic trope showcase.

Daniel Craig (Skyfall, Cowboys & Aliens, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) did pretty well in his part, but it was his chemistry with Naomi Watts (Insurgent, While We’re Young, 3 Generations) and Rachel Weisz (My Cousin Rachel, 360, The Bourne Legacy) that really did the movie a favor. As good as they all were individually, it was the scenes where they were interacting that told the deeper story of what was happening. The undercurrent of fear and secrets was well evident.

There were a few moments where my attention shifted easily from the screen, so I wouldn’t say it kept me on the edge of my seat or anything. It was like the editing was done in such a way that it forced me to stop caring at some points. If any part of it wasn’t done well, I’d say it was the editing.

It was a decent film for what it was. I would recommend it, but I wouldn’t go overboard describing how good it was.

Cat’s Point of View:
One of the shows that my husband and I enjoy watching together is AMC’s Into the Badlands (2015-). We were just catching up on the end of the most recent season last night, and I remember commenting to him that Marton Csokas’ (The Debt, Noah, The Equalizer) character was just so creepy. I swear, Csokas has the whole making you uncomfortable just because his character appeared on the screen down. I hadn’t even realized he was in this movie until I processed his voice and his appearance sans facial hair. I think he was seriously underutilized in this film.
That was really one of the main problems of this movie. It would suck me into the landscape of the tale and then something would just be off and jar me back out again. There aren’t many things I could put my finger on specifically outside of some of the gaping plot holes.

I really enjoyed the chemistry between Daniel Craig (The Invasion, The Golden Compass, The Adventures of Tintin) and Rachel Weisz (The Lovely Bones, The Lobster, Denial) as the lead couple. The little girls that were cast as their children were also absolutely adorable and it looks like they all had fun on set together.

Another puzzle piece that doesn’t seem to fit like it should is the role of Naomi Watts’ (J Edgar, The Sea of Trees, The Book of Henry) character. I’ll give the film credit that it kept me guessing a bit about her, and yet all the same, I’m not sure that the vibe that actually came across was what they were really going for. Once all those roughly-shaped puzzle pieces got hammered together, it made sense but left me with an “ok, if you say so…” feeling.

There’s some mind-bendy stuff going on, which I thought was great – I just wish they’d accomplished it differently. It’s no wonder this feels a little over-worked or even cobbled together, though. The production company took the final edit out of the hands of the director so they could do it the way they wanted to. At one point, he actually appealed to the Director’s Guild to have his name removed from the final product because of this. That old-fashioned saying about too many cooks in the kitchen has merit.

All said, the movie wasn’t bad. I liked it. I would have loved to have seen the movie that the director originally envisioned, though.

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 6%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 36%
Metascore - 35/100
Metacritic User Score – 8.5/10
IMDB Score – 6.0/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating3/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating3/5

Movie Trailer:

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