Dream House (film)

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Dream House
Two girls holding hands, their dresses match the wallpaper behind them.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jim Sheridan
Produced by
Written by David Loucka
Music by John Debney
Cinematography Caleb Deschanel
Edited by Barbara Tulliver
Distributed by Universal Pictures {{{1}}}(North America)
Warner Bros. Pictures {{{1}}}(International)
Release dates
  • September 30, 2011 (2011-09-30)
Running time 92 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $50 million[2]
Box office $38,502,340

Dream House is a 2011 American psychological thriller written by David Loucka directed by Jim Sheridan and starring Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, and Marton Csokas.[3] It was released on September 30, 2011, in the United States and Canada by Universal Pictures and Morgan Creek Productions to mostly negative reviews and low box office results.


Peter Ward is a mental patient who was recently released from a mental hospital after his wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz), and two daughters were brutally murdered in their home. He returns to the house, now abandoned, and begins to live there in the empty, decrepit house. In his mind, however, his wife and family are still there, and everything is fine. He thinks his name is Will Atenton, loving father and husband.

His neighbor Ann (Naomi Watts), sees him living all by himself in the abandoned house and begins to check up on him. He tells her that his name is Will and that he lives there with his wife and daughters. Ann knows that Peter's family is dead and sees the house is empty. She instantly realizes that Peter is still insane. She is unsure how to handle this, and very calmly goes back to her house.

Meanwhile, within Peter's fantasy, his daughters see a man watching the house from the front yard. Will comes to believe that the man's name is Peter Ward and that Ward is stalking his family, and starts searching for more information about him. He has no idea that he himself is the real Peter Ward.

His research leads him to the psychiatric hospital where he was committed. There he finally discovers that he is Peter Ward, and that he created a new identity for himself in order to cope with the grief of his family's death. When he was still in the mental hospital, he made up a new name in which he used the numbers on his wrist band ID (W1-1L 8-10-10 – WILL Eight-Ten-ten). He returns to his house again and converses with the projections of his wife and daughters.

There is still a mystery of who killed Peter's family. Although he is mentally ill, Peter knows he could not have committed the crimes. With the help of neighbor Ann, he discovers that a local man named Boyce (Elias Koteas) broke into the house and shot Peter's wife and daughters. After being fatally wounded, Elizabeth tried to shoot Boyce and accidentally shot Peter, allowing Boyce to escape.

Peter and Ann are suddenly attacked by Boyce and Ann's ex-husband, Jack, who reveals that he had hired Boyce to kill Ann so he could get revenge on her for divorcing him. Apparently, Boyce entered the wrong house and accidentally killed Peter's family. Jack decides to kill Ann and set the house on fire, framing Peter for her murder, and shoots Boyce as punishment for his early failure. As Jack tries to ignite a fire, Peter's dead wife manifests herself to wake Peter from being unconscious and distracts Jack. Peter overpowers Jack and saves Ann and escapes. Boyce douses Jack in gasoline as revenge for being shot, and Jack shoots him in the head before being consumed by the flames.

Peter reenters the burning house and confronts the ghosts of his family; they forgive him and tell him to leave to save himself. Peter barely escapes the fire, having finally discovered the truth about the past and accepted his family's deaths. On his way out, he recovers the journal he had hidden under a stair tread.

A year later, Peter returns to New York City and publishes a book called Dream House about his experiences, which becomes a bestseller.



Director Jim Sheridan clashed with Morgan Creek’s James G. Robinson constantly on the set over the shape of the script and production of the film.[4] Sheridan then tried to take his name off the film after being unhappy with the film and his relationship with Morgan Creek Productions.[5]

Sheridan, Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz disliked the final cut of the film so much that they refused to do press promotion or interviews for it.[6] The trailer, cut by Morgan Creek Productions, came under fire for revealing the main plot twist of the film.[6]


Dream House: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by John Debney
Released 11 October 2011
Recorded 2011
Genre Soundtrack
Length 56:47
Label Varèse Sarabande
Producer Stephanie Pereida
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars link
Filmtracks 4/5 stars link

The score to Dream House was composed by John Debney and conducted by Robert Ziegler. Christian Clemmensen, reviewer of Filmtracks.com, gave it four out of five stars, declaring it "among the biggest surprises of 2011" and stating, "It's not clear how badly Debney's work for Dream House was butchered by the studio's frantic last minute attempts to make the film presentable, but Debney's contribution does feature a cohesive flow of development that is, at least on album, a worthy souvenir from this otherwise messy situation."[7] The soundtrack was released 11 October 2011 and features fifteen tracks of score at a running time of fifty-six minutes.

No. Title Length
1. "Dream House"   5:36
2. "Little Girls Die"   2:53
3. "Footprints in the Snow"   3:17
4. "Peter Searches"   6:00
5. "Night Fever"   1:33
6. "Intruders"   1:41
7. "Libby Sees Graffiti"   2:33
8. "Peter Ward's Room"   2:10
9. "Ghostly Playthings"   3:17
10. "Peter Ward's Story"   3:13
11. "Ghost House"   2:37
12. "Remember Libby"   4:05
13. "Murder Flashback"   3:59
14. "Peter Saves Ann/Redemption"   7:29
15. "Dream House End Credits"   5:55


The film was not screened in advance for critics, and was critically panned. Review aggregation Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 6% based on reviews from 82 critics, with a rating average of 3.7 out of 10 and an audience rating of 35%. The consensus states: "Dream House is punishingly slow, stuffy and way too obvious to be scary."[8] Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a score of 35/100 based on 16 reviews.[9]


External links[edit]