This film is a mixture of mystery, drama and thriller which is more sinister than the title would initially have you believe. Daniel Craig plays the husband and father, Will Atenton, who we see at the beginning quit his job as an editor to spend more time with his family and also plans to write a book. He and his wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and two daughters Trish (Taylor Greare) and Dee Dee (Claire Greare) have just moved to a large house in the outskirts of the city. Unsurprisingly some strange incidents begin to occur, including an odd reception with the neighbour across the road, Anne Patterson (Naomi Watts) who has quite a minor role but the character is significant in the way the story is unraveled and the truth is discovered. Also the two daughters are convinced that they repeatedly see a man watching them from outside the house, which forces Will to go looking for answers.
He learns that a mother and two children were murdered by the father, Peter Ward, in the house and it had been empty for five years before they moved in. However, there is slightly more to it and he begins to get more involved in this revelation and when truths are exposed to him it is more than he can cope with. He is forced to face his problems and the question of who Peter Ward is and what it means for him and his family.
The story gets off to a slow start and it takes a while for any of the mystery to be planted, however once it begins to develop, Dream House does get more interesting. It wasn’t the most enthralling, edge of seat thriller but there were still a few moments which I must admit made me flinch and possibly squeal. If you allow yourself to be drawn into the film then it will be more entertaining.
The general onscreen relationship of the family as a whole wasn’t the most genuine or convincing but the relationship between Craig and Weisz was the stronger and more significant in the film. Dream House has a huge psychological aspect to it and I felt that Craig pulled a lot of the character’s anguish off really well, though there were some instances in which he could have had more of an impact.
What I did like about Dream House was the way you can’t help but try to figure out what is going to happen and how everything will be explained. As the plot comes to a climax and several loose ends gradually come together there are several moments where you think ‘ohh that explains that!‘. However, there was one significant aspect of the ending which really wasn’t explained well enough and still left a lot of questions and confusion – which is always annoying. The ending wasn’t satisfying enough, though I find that this type of mystery drama never manages to end in a convincing way.
Overall I think this film had an interesting premise but the ending got too complicated in itself and was somewhat disappointing. Still, it was interesting to see Craig in this role and I did like the way it was essentially up to the viewer to decide whether Dream House was about a man’s insanity, or about his ghosts.