Dream House

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Dream House Movie Poster Image
Muddled, weird thriller has disturbing violence.
  • PG-13
  • 2011
  • 92 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 11 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

It's hard to figure out what this muddled mess is really trying to say, though the main character does overcome a major challenge by learning how to accept a painful loss and move on.

Positive Role Models & Representations

No real role models here. Most of the characters' behavior is shady, and their motivations are unclear. The wife and daughters seem to be good, loving people, but they can't be role models for a very good reason.


The most horrifying scene in the movie occurs when two little girls become sick and feverish. It's revealed that they have bloody, gaping wounds on their bodies, and they both die. Characters are shot and killed, and there's some blood on view. There's an explosion, as well as many scenes of shouting and threats.


A married couple is seen repeatedly kissing and engaging in some bedroom foreplay.


At least one use of "f--k" and "s--t," plus "damn," "hell," "ass," "a--hole," "goddamn," and several uses of "Jesus" and "Christ" (as exclamations).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The main character has a glass of beer on the table with his dinner, but he doesn't drink from it. A character uses chloroform to subdue his victims.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this mystery-thriller with supernatural elements includes a disturbing scene of two children dying of bloody wounds. Several other characters also get shot and die, and some blood is on display. Shouting and threats are prevalent. Language is light but includes one use each of "f--k" and "s--t." A married couple kisses and engages in some bedroom play, though there's no nudity.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bywonder dove July 27, 2013

Really quite good.

I wasn't sure if I'd like this movie, but I finally gave it shot and it was actually pretty good! I admit it turned strange and confusing about half w... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byMystique. March 29, 2021

Purely amazing

Absolutely amazing. This was a phenomenal thriller that had me in tears by the end. Would 100% recommend.
Teen, 13 years old Written byMorgan Elliott April 21, 2020

Great Movie

I thought it was good. It has a big twist in the middle and really surprised me. It wasn't very scary but there is some gore when it comes to the girls wit... Continue reading

What's the story?

Book editor Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) decides to quit his job to write and spend more time with his wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz), and their daughters in his new DREAM HOUSE. Unfortunately, he learns that some terrible murders took place in the house, and strange things start happening. The neighbors -- like pretty Ann Patterson (Naomi Watts) and her angry ex-husband (Marton Csokas) -- are acting suspiciously, and mysterious figures are hanging around in the woods watching the house. Will starts digging a little deeper into the house's past and discovers a sinister secret ... and everything he believes in comes crashing down around him.

Is it any good?

It's possible to see, somewhere in the fabric of this weird, overwrought misfire, that a good movie might once have been possible. Director Jim Sheridan, a six-time Oscar nominee for My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father, and In America, is normally quite good with stories about families. But it appears that neither he, nor screenwriter David Loucka, nor the editors, had any idea where this story starts, where it goes, and when it ends.


As a result, Dream House appears to climax somewhere in the middle, and many of the actors and their characters are left stranded. Poor Craig must suffer a strange change of hairstyle every few minutes, and Watts' character -- it turns out -- has very little to do with anything. Moreover, there's no attempt to create any red herrings, and the mystery stalls. Even the rules behind the supernatural elements are ignored. Finally, the emotional content is so ridiculously over-pitched that audiences are liable to laugh at this family's misfortunes.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. Is it appropriate for a thriller like this, or is it too brutal? What's the effect of watching this kind of violence?

  • Is the movie scary? If so, what makes it scary? What were the scariest moments, and why?

  • What is the movie really about? Does anyone learn anything? Is it a good story?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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