The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Friday, June 14, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Depending on how you spin it, “Dream House” can either be the most underwhelming movie audiences will see this year or a top contender for the worst.

If they don’t watch the trailer beforehand, viewers will see a sluggish and predictable thriller salvaged by emotional performances.

But if they do, they’ll see actors trying to rescue a story whose climactic twist is not just predictable, but previously advertised as the movie’s premise.

Subsequently, there is either a boring story or an infuriatingly awful lack of a story. For charity’s sake, let’s ignore the advertising mistake and assume the former.

Soon after publishing exec Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) moves into a new home with his wife (Rachel Weisz) and children, he learns of a man named Peter Ward who murdered his own family in that very house years ago.

After hearing of Peter’s hospital release, Will sets out to find Peter before he strikes again. From its beginning to the middle of its second act, the film offers excruciatingly obvious hints about its impending twist. They are in fact so obvious that viewers can’t help but expect something entirely different up director Jim Sheridan’s sleeve.

However, as both a merit and flaw to his film, Sheridan merely keeps his promise.

What makes this particularly frustrating is that the story can’t gain momentum until the “shocking” truth is revealed.

It presents itself like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat very, very slowly. Instead of rewarding viewers for their patience by putting a spin on the trick, the magician exclaims “Integrity!” as the curtains close.

Fortunately, Craig and Weisz pick up some of the pieces. They must have drawn from their real-life marriage in depicting this fictitious one, displaying the amorous emotionality which colors this lifeless flop.

The Hollywood couple might even convince audiences that the film itself has dimension. For at least a decent moviegoing experience, viewers will want to be fooled.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.

Special Print Edition
The Daily Tar Heel 2024 Orientation Guide