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Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) quit a high-profile job in Manhattan to relocate his wife, Libby (Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz), and their two daughters to a quaint New England town. But as they settle into their new life, they discover their perfect home was once the murder scene of a mother and her children. When Will investigates, he’s not sure if he’s seeing ghosts or if the tragic events are somehow related to his past. The only clues come from his mysterious neighbor, Ann (Oscar-nominee Naomi Watts), who helps him piece together this haunting puzzle. Full of twists and suspense, this psychological thriller will have you on the edge of your seat.
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The movie opens with Will Atenten (ah-ten-ten Daniel Craig) in his editor office, signing off on his severance package. He has decided to spend more time at home with his family and write a book. It is snowing outside. He takes the metro train home and breaks the news to wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and plays with his little girls Trish and Dee Dee. I got the impression that the family had moved into the house recently. Trish found flowers on the porch this morning that were not from Will (which probably should have been better tied in or deleted from the film.
Soon after Will's retirement, an estranged husband and wife, Ann Patterson (Naomi Watts neighbors) begin to look at him funny, as does their daughter. Something seems so familiar about Ann. Ann's husband looks at Will like he hates him, while the custody battle over the teen-age Patterson girl goes on.
When Dee Dee thinks she spots a man outside the window, and Will sees footprints in the snow the next morning, the plot begins to kick into a faster pace. Will gets up in the middle of the night to see teenagers in his basement, involved in some ritual to commemorate the 5-year anniversary of the murders in this house! Through talking to the teens and the police, and research, Will finds out that a woman and 2 young girls were shot and killed in his home 5 years ago! The husband, Peter Ward, was also shot, but lived. Peter Ward has recently been released from a psychiatric facility because of lack of evidence to charge him criminally. Our story-line takes Will on a quest to find Peter Ward and some answers and reminds us that our perception is our reality.
The story-line was very good and well worth seeing, but it probably could have been developed better, into something outstanding. Still, this was a very good movie and I plan to purchase the DVD when it becomes available--filmed in Ontario, Canada.
DON'T READ IF YOU DON'T WANT SPOILERS
Jim Sheridan's made some great movies, and he's made a couple of stinkers. Unfortunately, despite the efforts of an all-star cast that includes Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, and Naomi Watts, Dream House falls pretty squarely in the latter category. Craig stars as Peter Ward, a recently released mental patient and survivor of a brutal attack that left his wife and two daughters dead. Unfortunately, Peter is not altogether well, and he moves back into his decrepit home, believing in his mind that it is still the lovely home he left, and that his family is still alive and well... but with different names. As Peter's past and his fabricated fantasy come to a head, the truth is slowly revealed. Unfortunately, I saw the twists and turns coming a mile away, and in light of that, the film simply moved along at a snail's pace, too stuffy to be gripping, and too obvious to be scary. As it stands, it's the worst film I've seeb for Sheridan, Weisz, and Watts, and the second lowest for Craig.