Dream House (film)

Dream House (film)
The Dream House

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jim Sheridan
Produced by Jim Sheridan
James G. Robinson
David C. Robinson
Daniel Bobker
Ehren Kruger
Written by David Loucka
Starring Daniel Craig
Rachel Weisz
Naomi Watts
Marton Csokas
Music by John Debney
Cinematography Caleb Deschanel
Editing by Barbara Tulliver
Studio Morgan Creek Productions
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) September 30, 2011 (2011-09-30)
Running time 92 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $50 million[2]
Box office $31,488,030

Dream House is a 2011 American thriller film 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 bad reviews and poor box office numbers.



Peter Ward (Daniel Craig) is a mental patient who recently left a psychiatric hospital and then a halfway house. Five years earlier, his wife, Libby, (Rachel Weisz) and daughters Trish and Dee Dee were murdered at their home. During the attack, Peter was shot in the head, and so he has no memories of the murders. Instead, he has created a fantasy world in which his wife and daughters are fine. In his fantasy, he is a successful book publisher named Will Atenton. This is where the movie begins, and the audience is led to believe that Atenton and his family are real, but of course, they are the figments of a mental patient's imagination. Peter moves back to his abandoned old house and lives inside. It is boarded up and unsafe and covered with grafitti, but in Peter's disturbed mind, the house is gorgeous and his wife and kids live there happily.

Peter begins to re-connect with his old neighbors, including Ann Patterson (Naomi Watts). She recognizes Peter as her old neighbor from five years ago and wonders why he is living in an unfit house. She begins to realize that Peter is still insane and that he is imagining that his dead family is alive in the house. He speaks as if everything is normal, and this alarms Ann.

Within Peter's delusion, Trish and Dee Dee start seeing a man watching the house from the front yard, and Will and Libby find evidence that something has happened to the house's previous owners. Will eventually discovers that, years prior, a woman named Elizabeth and her daughters Beatrice and Katherine were murdered, and her husband, Peter Ward, was the main suspect, but was let off because of lack of evidence. Will starts believing that Peter Ward has returned and is stalking his family, and starts searching for more information about him. He doesn't yet realize that he himself is Peter Ward and that Will does not exist.

Will's research leads him to the psychiatric hospital where Peter Ward was committed after being arrested for murdering his family. There, Will discovers that he is Peter Ward, and created a new identity for himself in order to cope with the grief of his family's death. In turn, the audience learns that everything that has occurred up to this point in the movie was just fantasy. He is informed by the doctors that he claimed he was innocent. He returns to his house, which is actually abandoned and decrepit, and converses with the projections of his wife and daughters, who claim that they believe in his innocence.

Peter eventually becomes closer to Ann and her daughter Chloe, and discovers that they were friends of his family. Ann believes in his innocence and encourages Peter to live a new life in order to heal himself. Peter eventually decides to return to his old house to confront his memories and, with Ann's help, realizes that he did not kill his family. It was a local man named Boyce (Elias Koteas), who broke into the house and shot Peter's daughters. During the fight, Elizabeth tried to shoot Boyce and accidentally shot Peter, allowing Boyce to recover the handgun and kill her. Peter was then accused of the murder.

Peter and Ann are suddenly attacked by Boyce and Ann's ex, Jack, who reveals that he had hired Boyce to kill Ann so he could get revenge against her for divorcing him. Boyce got into 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 they try to ignite a fire, Peter escapes, overpowers Jack and saves Ann. Boyce douses Jack in gasoline in revenge for being shot, but Jack shoots him in the head before being consumed by the flames.

While Ann and Chloe reunite, Peter confronts the ghosts of his wife and children, who forgive him and say goodbye. Peter escapes, having finally discovered the truth and gained inner peace.

One year later, Peter has returned to New York City and published a book called Dream House using his real name, Peter Ward, about his recent experiences. The movie then ends.



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 has come under fire for revealing the main plot twist of the film.[6]


The critically acclaimed score to Dream House was composed by John Debney. It was later considered by Filmtracks.com reviewer Christian Clemmensen to be one of the only redeeming aspects of the production, stating, "Standing above this unfortunate fray is composer John Debney, who at least did his best to take the assignment seriously enough to provide an impressive orchestral score."[7] The soundtrack was released 11 October 2011 and features fifteen tracks of score at a running time of fifty-six minutes.

  1. "Dream House" (5:36)
  2. "Little Girls Die" (2:53)
  3. "Footprints tn 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, but has been critically panned. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 9% of 56 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 3.7 out of 10. 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 42 based on 8 reviews.[9]


External links

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