Magazine article The Christian Century

Dream House

Magazine article The Christian Century

Dream House

Article excerpt

Dream House

Directed by Jim Sheridan

Starring Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts

Universal released Dream House without advance screenings, so critics weren't inclined to treat it seriously. The studio interfered with the movie so much that the director, Jim Sheridan, wanted to take his name off it. But though the movie is confused, it contains beautifully conceived sequences that suggest a genuine vision.

Daniel Craig plays Will Atenton, who retires from his publishing job to spend more time with his family--his wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz), and their two little girls. They have just relocated to a small Connecticut town. Only after they've settled in do they learn that the last family to live in their house died violently and that the only survivor, the father, was the suspected killer and wound up in a psychiatric institution. Now, on the fifth anniversary of the event, it seems that someone has been watching the house.

David Loucka's script builds up to a surprise like the ones in mysteries such as The Sixth Sense, Shutter Island and The Others. When you start to catch on, the plot at first seems hokey. But as the movie continues to develop, you start to realize that it's not just a twist but a genuine psychological revelation--that the picture is considerably more interesting than it might have seemed.

The most obvious evidence of studio interference comes late in the movie: the ending is sentimentalized, and there are other scenes that one might guess aren't scenes Sheridan intended. …

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