Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Movie: Dream House (2011)
A 2011 psychological thriller by director Jim Sheridan, this is a movie about a man, Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) who moved into a new house with his wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz) and two lovely daughters, Trish and Dee Dee, claiming that they have found their dream house.
As the family was happily settling down and adapting to the new environment, they were disturbed by their two girls's claims of spotting a mysterious man watching them from the window. Will calmed his family down by disproving their claims but he and his wife Libby found evidence on the walls of the house's previous owners.
Upon further investigation, Will found out that the previous family who stayed in the house were brutally murdered; and the victims were a woman named Elizabeth, and her two young daughters, Beatrice and Katherine. The prime suspect in the murder case was Elizabeth's husband and the father of the two girls; Peter Ward who was the only person at home at the time of the murders. However, Peter Ward was released due to the lack of evidence.
Will became convinced that Peter Ward has returned to haunt the grounds of his former home and worries for his family's safety; especially after stumbling upon a bunch of teenagers in his basement performing a ritual for the dead family.
Will was even more convinced of Peter Ward's presence when the teenagers muttered, "He's back" as they left his compound. Determined to find out the truth and to protect his family, Will tried to get the story from his seemingly friendly neighbor; a divorcee, Ann Patterson (Naomi Watts). When his attempts proved futile, Will continued his research on Peter Ward which then led him to an asylum or a psychiatric hospital where he learnt that Peter Ward was there for five years and that he was a a very dangerous patient who constantly bit on his own tags and even changed his own name to protect his identity.
Will was even shown a video tape of Peter Ward, and when it zoomed into the face, Will realized that he WAS Peter Ward and that Will Atenton was a name he conjured up based on his ID number on the tag: ( W1-1L 8-10-10).
It was an attempt to cope with his grief over his family's death and by coming up with a new identity he led himself to believe that he was not the murderer.
Will refused to believe the truth and walked away, but he soon realized that his family's death was true and that he had been seeing the ghosts of his wife and daughters who was still lingering around him to find out the truth and to protect him.
Will turned to his neighbor, Ann Patterson, whom he saw visiting him in the video tape, and found out that Ann was actually his wife, Libby's best friend and she believed that Will was not the murderer.
Will was then intent to find out the real murderer of his family. Together with Ann, they found out that the real murderer was a local man named Boyce, who broke into the house and shot Libby and his two daughters. At that time, Libby was trying to shoot Boyce to protect Peter but she dropped the gun which Boyce used to shoot her, leading Peter to be accused of the crime.
At the same time, as Will had finally found out about the truth, he and Ann was suddenly attacked by Jack, Ann's ex-husband who revealed that he was the one who hired Boyce to kill his ex-wife, as an act of revenge due to her divorcing him. However, Boyce broke into the wrong house and killed the wrong family instead. Jack then tried to burn the house down, to kill Ann and to again frame Will of the murder. He also shot Boyce for his mistake in killing the wrong family, and then set the house to fire. Will saved Ann from the fire, while Boyce and Jack fought with each other and ended up killed in the fire.
Will then reconciled with the ghosts of his wife and daughters, who told him that they forgave him and that he should save himself.
He turned and left, finding the truth and coming to peace with his own self.
A year later, Peter was seen to have published a book named 'Dream House' which tells his whole story and it was a best seller while Peter seemed to have settled in New York.
I find the plot a little similar to Shutter Island, another psychological thriller I have watched earlier but comparing the two, I must say that Shutter Island fared much better in the complexity of mystery and suspense.
Dream House was rather slow in its pace, and at the same time, it did not create much suspense as its pace already gave us plenty of opportunities to guess the rather predictable plot.
Anyway, if I have not watched Shutter Island beforehand, this movie may be quite entertaining, although I still think that the pace was really quite slow.