Built on rotten foundations

Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz play a married couple in Dream House.

"Daddy, I think George Lazenby is my favourite James Bond."

Release Date: 25 November 2011
15 | 91 minutes
Distributor: Universal
Director: Jim Sheridan
Cast: Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Marton Csokas, Elias Koteas, Taylor Geare

Filmmakers often like to play down reports of difficult test screenings and reshoots as nothing more than necessary tweaks to perfect their cinematic construction work. But in the case of Dream House, director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In The Name Of The Father) clashed with the studio and nearly took his name off the movie after they started to fiddle. Since that lead to such a deathly, leaden chore of a film, you can see his point.

This really should work a lot better: it has a solid cast fronted by Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts, bringing to life a plot about a happy family man slowly unravelling as he discovers the dark truth about his new home’s tragic past. Sadly, despite a Shining-style hook and real talent on both sides of the camera, it still falters.

The confused and frustrating script, which offers little outside of clichéd shock moments and bizarrely boring reveals, is the major problem. The cast struggle to bring it to life, although there are a few flashes of decent soul-searching from Craig amongst the rubble. A maudlin tone never translates into real drama and the twists and turns don’t do much to help either.

Talking of turns, the trailer, released against Sheridan’s wishes, is no help – it’s one long spoiler that deflates almost all the tension. This is one property you’d do well to stay away from.

James White

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