Aims for Shutter Island, lands somewhere south of Shyamalan.
Ever get that sinking feeling when you watch a trailer that appears to give away the entire plot, only to be bamboozled by a final act switcheroo in the full fat version? Dream House desperately wants to be that movie. But it isn't. No, Jim Sheridan's daft psycho/schizo thriller is neither subtle nor savvy enough to pull that off.
Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz are Will and Libby Atenton, a happy thirtysomething couple who relocate to a picture-postcard abode in snow-dusted suburbia with their two young girls, only to discover that the former occupants were brutally murdered several years before.
Will becomes obsessed with the tragedy, pestering neighbours – all of whom greet him with either irrational hostility or transparent pity – and sweeping local newspaper archives for snippets of truth in a maelstrom of smalltown hearsay. Not forgetting the obligatory Google search, a tell-tale sign of shoddy studio-hired penmanship.
His obsession threatens to become all-consuming, but rather than exploring the depths of one man's murky psyche Sheridan slams on the brakes and his film assumes the trite and all too predictable guise of a whodunnit potboiler. He's aiming for Shutter Island, but lands somewhere south of Shyamalan.
After the disappointment of Brothers and the prosaic social critique of Fiddy-fronted Get Rich or Die Tryin', you have to look back the best part of a decade, to 2002's In America, to find the last time Sheridan hit a sweet note. The three films he made with Daniel Day-Lewis between 1989 and 1997 – My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father, The Boxer – now look more like faded keepsakes than awards gold-plated calling cards.
Assumedly the only thing that saved Dream House from being rerouted to bargain buckets across the country is the fleeting tabloid fart that wafted around its co-leads some months back. For those who don't keep tabs on the latest 'entertainment news' movements, it's alleged that Craig and Weisz had an affair during filming, effectively sealing the latter's split from Darren Aronofsky. Bond will be Bond...
So-so trailer and Sheridan's aim's been off of late. Strong leads, though.
Part sub-Stephen King haunted house horror, part hacked-up Hitchcockian psycho-drama. Total nonsense.
An utter waste of time and talent.