DVD365.net
Dream House (2011) artwork

Dream House (2011)

24th April 2012

A perfect family. A terrifying secret. When a family unknowingly moves into a home where grisly murders were committed they end up uncovering even darker mysteries within its walls.
Daniel Craig, Naomi Watts, Rachel Weisz, Marton Csokas
Drama, Suspense/Thriller
2
1 hour 28 minutes

Will Atenton is a high-profile, Manhattan publisher who has finally decided to retire and leave the big city behind to relocate his wife Libby and their two daughters to a quaint New England town where he can write his long planned novel. As with most house moves, the couple spend most of their time stamping their own personality on the home by decorating and, along the way, discovering things about the previous occupants. But looks can be deceiving and their idyllic home hides a startling secret.

Not long after moving in the children overhear Chloe, a teenager who lives nearby, talking to someone on her phone about how their new house and how everyone who moves in dies. With a couple of scared children now on his hands, Will decides to talk to the Chloe's mother Ann about her daughter. Unfortunately, she's not really that helpful and is a little suspicious of the arrival of the family. Matters aren't helped by Ann's ex-husband Jack turning up who takes an instant dislike to him.

As Will digs deeper the family discover that their beloved dream home has a history of murder - a brutal murder where a father named Peter Ward killed his wife and two kids in cold blood. But when Will dares to delve further into the mysteries of the house, not only do the police and the majority of the neighbours avoid the family, he discovers that Peter Ward has been released from a mental institution. And when the children are startled by a stranger lurking in the darkness outside, Will finds someone is watching their every move.

With the mystery and tension deepening by the day, the only clue eventually comes from his neighbour. Together with Ann, Will starts to piece together a haunting puzzle. It's a puzzle which needs to lead him to the murderer before he returns to kill again.

The film spends most of its time in the Atenton's house with varying degrees of light throughout. Whilst the Blu-ray will undoubtly cope with the challenge of reproducing dark interior and exterior images, the DVD puts up a good fight. With an above average bit-rate throughout and some solid black levels, the occasionally soft images are good with no signs of either artifacting or outlining. Also, given that this is a recent release, there are no signs of print damage too.

I would have thought there'd be room on the disc for something higher than Dolby Digital 384Kbps soundtrack provided, but dig a little deeper and you'll find additional soundtracks in Castilian, Spanish and French. Whilst the soundtrack isn't as involving I'd hoped, it still manages to produce some decent surround activity from the front and back stages whilst providing a nice rumble from the LFE channel. With plenty of dialogue to take in it's important that this is clear and audible. Fortunately it is well balanced in the front stereo channels without cross channel bleeding whilst the musical score helps add to the drama.

The menu system is a fairly basic one with a scattering of options on a static but hauntingly scored menu. Extras wise, the Blu-ray edition comes with a couple of additional featurettes whilst the DVD comes with a rather miserly single featurette - the five minute Building the Dream House. Warner are also providing a free digital download of the film via Flixster's UltraViolet digital download/streaming service so you, once registered, you can watch the film on the move on either your Android, iPhone or iPad. It's certainly a useful feature and something which might help cut down on piracy, but I do wish everybody would adopt the same media streaming format so you don't have to install umpteen different applications on your phone and hope that your television supports whatever format is used.

But back to the five minute Building the Dream House featurette. Although the only extra on the DVD, it's still worthy of a look in as it goes on to prove that a director doesn't always need fancy special effects to get the desired results - simply lighting a set in a specific way or cutting away from a scene in a particular way can be just as effective. Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, director Jim Sheridan, cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, art director Elinor Rose Galbraith and special effects supervisor Sophie Vertigan are on hand to provide an insight into how the house was created. With plenty of behind the scenes footage, clips and stills from the film, it all adds up to an interesting - albeit rather short - featurette.

After watching the film I discovered that Dream House had been pretty much panned by every critic going plus it suffered from internal strife which left the actors pretty much washing their hands of the entire production. In a way, discovering all of this after watching the film was fortunate as, if I'd decided to read more into this first, and even watching the theatrical trailer, then it would have ended up completely spoiling the film. This made things all the more interesting as , for once in a long time of watching films, I had one of those "Well, I never spotted that coming" moments - although from then on, which interestingly enough came at the film's midpoint, it was then pretty obvious what the outcome of the film would be.

Without spoiling the plot for potential viewers of Dream House, it's a film which borrows ideas from a number of genres without really finding its true path. It's just like M Night Shyalaman's later films which, after so much promise, ended up lacking that little something. Given this, it appears that there were plenty of disagreements going on behind the scenes with director Jim Sheridan feuding over control of the film with Morgan Creek producer Jim Robinson. Considering that I'd never heard of the film, and with a cast line up of Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts, you have to wonder that something is wrong when its spent a year hiding under the radar.

With a high value cast and a great point in the film which I never saw coming, Dream House is a much maligned film. Sure, once you've seen it the once it'll be hard to warrant multiple viewings (although you may wish to go back and review things you may have missed first time around), but the wide ranging criticism is a little overblown and unfair. If anything, it will have probably resulted from American audiences not "getting it" and having to think for themselves about what's going on. It may not be worthy of a purchase, but as a quite an enjoyable and watchable film, a rental should most definitely be considered. Just remember, if you don't want to spoil the suprise then try to avoid watching any trailers for the film.

  • Building the Dream House featurette
Evil resurfaces in Derry as director Andy Muschietti reunites the Losers Club in a return to where it all began with IT Chapter Two, the conclusion to the highest-grossing horror film of all time, ...Read more
Gomorrah S2 artwork

Gomorrah S2

DVD
19/07/2016
Based the non-fiction investigative book by Roberto Saviano published in 2006, set in the suburbs of Naples, Gomorrah focuses on organised crime and the relationships of gangsters, drug dealers, and ...
Sightseers artwork

Sightseers

BD
20/09/2014
The Inbetweeners 2 artwork

The Inbetweeners 2

BD
01/04/2018
The Tunnel artwork

The Tunnel

DVDUK TV
20/01/2018
Homeland S3 artwork

Homeland S3

DVD
11/09/2014
Lee Mack artwork

Lee Mack

DVD
10/12/2014
Jack Ryan S2 artwork

Jack Ryan S2

DVDBDUK TVBoxset
08/07/2020
An up-and-coming CIA analyst, Jack Ryan, is back as Jack Ryan: Season 2 arrives on DVD and Blu-ray 3th August 2020 from Paramount Home Entertainment.
Inheritance artwork

Inheritance

DVD
07/07/2020
Bicycle Thieves artwork

Bicycle Thieves

DVDBD
22/06/2020
My Brilliant Friend S2 artwork

My Brilliant Friend S2

DVDUK TV
02/07/2020
Isn't It Romantic artwork

Isn't It Romantic

DVDDIGITAL
03/07/2020
Echoes of Fear artwork

Echoes of Fear

DVD
27/06/2020

The Luminaries

News27/06/2020

An epic tale of star-crossed lovers, destiny, gold and greed, The Luminaries, a lush six-part period drama based on the Man Booker prize-winning novel by Eleanor Catton, arrives on DVD and digital on 20th July 2020 from Acorn Media International.

Isn't It Romantic

News03/07/2020

In Isn't It Romantic, released on DVD 27th July 2020 from Warner Home Video, Natalie, a lifelong love cynic, encounters a mugger that renders her unconscious, waking to discover that her life has become her worst nightmare - a romantic comedy.

Jack Ryan S2

News08/07/2020

An up-and-coming CIA analyst, Jack Ryan, is back as Jack Ryan: Season 2 arrives on DVD and Blu-ray 3th August 2020 from Paramount Home Entertainment.
"We're the sum total of our experiences - no exceptions."
Clouds of Sils Maria (2015)

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

DVDBD3D-BDUHD20/04/2020156

They Live By Night

BD20/04/2020109

Birds of Prey

DVDBDUHDDIGITAL20/06/202092

Jojo Rabbit

DVDBDDIGITAL11/05/202084

The Nest

DVDUK TV18/05/202066

Quiz

DVDDIGITALUK TV15/06/202061

Babylon Berlin S3

DVDUK TV13/04/202050

Save Me Too

DVDUK TV15/06/202049

Angel Has Fallen

NOTESDVDBDUHD16/12/201995

Bombshell

DVDBDNOTES20/12/201973

Radioactive

DVDBDBDNOTES24/04/202065

JoJo Rabbit

DVDBDNOTES30/01/202064

Racing Stripes

DVD21/06/20052986

Austin Powers

DVD01/12/20071395

The Simpsons S16

DVDUK TV05/12/2013955

Doom Patrol S1

DVDBDDIGITAL
03/07/2020

Burden

DVD
07/07/2020

Code 404

DVDDIGITAL
07/07/2020

True History of the Kelly Gang

DVDBDDIGITAL
07/07/2020