By Joshua Knopp/managing editor
Morgan Creek Productions took The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and crossbred it with an episode of Scooby Doo.
The resulting film begins with Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) retiring to spend more time with his family in their newly purchased dream house — it’s funny because Dream House is the title of the movie. Get it?
The family consists of his wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz), and two daughters, Trish and Dee Dee (Taylor and Claire Geare). After being haunted by superstitious teenagers and mysterious peering figures, Will learns that a family was murdered in the house five years earlier. After tracking the alleged killer, Peter Ward, to his mental hospital, Will discovers that he himself is Peter Ward, and the family he’s been interacting with has been dead for five years.
What was Dream House supposed to be? It falls far short as a horror film. The scariest sequences are of Will finding nothing
in the woods outside his house. The majority of the film, he’s trying to come to grips with the likelihood that he murdered his family.
The film also fails as an emotional redemption story because Will never really believes he did it. No one treats him like a murderer, and no demonizing qualities are presented to the audience concerning his character.
The only genre Dream House can fall into is murder mystery, and it fails even more miserably there because it tries so hard to be a horror or emotional redemption story through the first three quarters of its runtime.
Dream House is so bad that even its principal performers don’t like it. Craig, Weisz and director Jim Sheridan, who did not get final cut, hated the film and wouldn’t do any press for it. They were also critical of a commercial cut to reveal a plot twist.
Such insubordination from the cast harkens back to George Clooney’s public condemnation of the biblically terrible Batman & Robin.
A helplessly miscast Arnold Schwarzenegger and pointless nipples on the outside of Craig’s coat actually wouldn’t have made Dream House much worse.