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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A married couple is seen repeatedly kissing and engaging in some bedroom foreplay.
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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).
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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.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.