Dream House (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with Dream Home.
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 (North America)
Warner Bros. Pictures (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 $38.5 million

Dream House is a 2011 American psychological thriller 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.


Publisher Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) quits a lucrative job in New York to relocate his wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz), and their daughters to a quaint town in New England. As they settle into their home, however, the Atentons discover that a woman and her children were murdered there, and the surviving husband is the town's prime suspect. With help from a neighbor (Naomi Watts) who was close to the murdered family, Will pieces together a horrifying chain of events.


The film begins in 2007 with Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) leaving his job as a successful editor in New York in order to spend more time with his wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and their two daughters, and to write his own book. At first, the family appears to be living the American dream in their new home, until they discover that its previous occupants, a mother and her two small daughters, were shot to death in the Atenton home. Public opinion has condemned the father of this family, Peter Ward, as the one responsible. However, there was not enough evidence to convict Peter in court, and he was also deemed mentally unfit to stand trial, and was recently released from police custody, and Will begins to feel he is seeing Peter watching the house.

Will visits Greenhaven Psychiatric facility, where Peter was held for five years. Here he learns that on the night of the murders, Peter himself was shot in the head by his wife Elizabeth, who had somehow gotten hold of the murder weapon in the moments just before her death. In recovery, Peter couldn’t believe he’d committed the murders, and so he no longer believed he was Peter Ward. He chewed his own name off all of his identification bracelets/cards/tags, leaving only his Greenhaven I.D. sequence: W1 - 1L 8 -10 -10: Will Atenton. Peter Ward and Will Atenton are the same person.

Unable to believe this, Will rushes home and we see his home is really run down and condemned. Peter visits his neighbor, Ann Patterson (Naomi Watts). Ann had been a good friend to the Wards, and never believed Peter was the killer. Returning to the house, Peter remembers was on the phone with Libby when she stumbled on a burglar, who shot the little girls and wounded Libby. Peter attacked the gunman and Libby accidentally shot Peter.

Ann's ex-husband Jack and the gunman burst into the now-decrepit Ward home. It is revealed that the hit-man had been hired to kill Ann, but broke into the wrong house and chose to kill the witnesses. Jack shoots the hit-man in the abdomen before staging the scene so it will appear that Peter has murdered again before burning the house down. Peter regains consciousness in time to fight off Jack and rescue Ann. As Peter and Ann make it out of the house, Jack starts up the cellar steps but is doused with kerosene by the dying hit-man, and Jack goes up in flames. The house burns to the ground.

The film ends with a shot of Peter back in New York City. As he walks past a major bookseller’s window, we see that “Dream House” by Peter Ward has become a number one national 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]

Reportedly, 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][7]


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."[8] 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."[9] 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.[10]


  1. ^ "Dream House (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 2011-09-13. Retrieved 2011-09-13. 
  2. ^ Kaufman, Amy (September 29, 2011). "Movie Projector: Holdovers likely to beat '50/50,' 'Dream House'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Rachel Weisz, Daniel Craig And Naomi Watts To Star In 'Dream House'". FilmoFilia. Retrieved February 11, 2010.
  4. ^ "Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz "Dream House" May Be a Nightmare". Hollywood News. July 21, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2015. 
  5. ^ "24 Frames". Los Angeles Times. 
  6. ^ a b "Daniel Craig's Dream House Trailer Spoils The Entire Movie". Cinema Blend. July 20, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2015. 
  7. ^ "'Dream House' Trailer Gives Away Too Many Secrets". Screenrant. July 20, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2015. 
  8. ^ Clemmensen, Christian (5 October 2011). "Dream House (John Debney)". Filmtracks.com. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "Dream House (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Dream House Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 

External links[edit]