DREAM HOUSE - A Thinking Guy's Thriller
DREAM HOUSE (psychological thriller)
Cast: Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Marton Csokas, Claire Geare, Taylor Geare, Rachel G. Fox, Mark Wilson, Jonathan Potts and Lynne Griffin
Director: Jim Sheridan
Screenplay by David Loucka
Time: 95 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)
PREAMBLE: Dream House is not a suspense thriller that will jolt you out of your skin with sudden loud music and cheap scares. Instead, it plays games with your mind, keeping you guessing about what's happening and making you sort out the plot yourself. Now, if you like your thrillers done this way, then go for it.
If not, this one is going to be your nightmare...
SYNOPSIS: Author Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) quits a high power job in Manhattan to relocate his wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz), and two girls to a quaint New England town. However, as they settle into their new life, they discover that their house was the murder scene of a mother and her two children. Will tries to befriend his neighbour Ann Patterson (Naomi Watts) and find out from her what happened but she is not eager to talk.
Meanwhile, Will's younger daughter keeps seeing someone lurking outside the window. As Will pieces together the haunting puzzle, he must find out who murdered the family in his dream house before the culprit returns to kill again.
HITS & MISSES: Director Jim Sheridan's plot build-up is almost by-the-book and he makes no apology for it. The opening scenes show Will as a devoted father and loving hubby to his family. At first, his daughter's shadowy visions are dismissed quietly, but when Will gets physical evidence of someone lurking around, our curiosity heightens. Sheridan, who gave us My Left Foot and In The Name of The Father, is not delivering the thriller to us in a platter. He just dishes out the cards and let his audience sort them out - at least until the closing sequences.
At first, it feels rather weird to see beefcake Craig as a family guy. However, there is a good chemistry between he and Weisz who lends a loving and tender touch to the proceedings. The kids, played by Claire and Taylor Geare, are also convincing and adorable. It would have been great to see more of Naomi Watts (above, left) but her role is rather limited - and she acquits herself professionally. Fans of Rachel G. Fox (the Scarvo girl in TV's Desperate Housewives), will find her in a cameo as Ann's daughter Chloe.
THE LOWDOWN: A suspense thriller for the thinking viewer.