[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B00A13OCAA][/pullquote] Sometimes a film comes along that makes you lose all faith in the critics. Dream House has been met with universally negative reviews, but I am determined to defend this intelligent and enjoyable little thriller. A lot of the disappointment may stem from the fact that the trailer gives away so much. But it is impossible to give this film the justice it deserves without giving away a few things, so if you want Dream House to surprise you, avoid the trailer -and this review- like the plague.
The all too familiar beginning to Dream House goes as follows: a young family with Rachael Weisz and Daniel Craig playing mommy and daddy to two cute but potentially creepy young girls move into a seemingly idyllic house, but soon find out it has a history and the neighbours aren’t exactly forthcoming with the details. Eventually it transpires that the former inhabitants were murdered by seemingly devoted father and husband, Peter Ward. Cue dark figures lurking outside the house and Craig screaming ˜What do you want from us!’ (or something like that) into the night.
It’s at around this point you’ll start wondering what it is about Dream House’s predictable storyline which attracted big names like Craig (who generally goes for higher profile roles,) and Weisz. But then there’s the twist; Craig’s character is actually Peter Ward, and his family are the family who died. After sustaining a head wound on the night of the murders and being hospitalised with amnesia, the traumatised Peter created an alternate version of events where his family were still alive and he was not suspected of killing them. The idealised version of the house we see up until this revelation is a figment of Peter Ward’s imagination; then we are showed what it looks like in reality- basically an inverted version of a house in a John Lewis Christmas advert.
Regardless of whether or not it is medically possible for someone’s mind to create such a watertight fantasy world over the top of the real one, the main twist opens up another level of the story- did Ward kill his family or is the killer still out there?
Dream House is not a one trick pony. The twist leads us to review the actions of other, smaller characters; the policemen, the neighbours and the hospital staff who are obviously all rather stunned when the man suspected of killing his family starts introducing himself to his neighbours under a different name and saying his and his wife and children have just moved in next door.