A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
- In theaters: September 30, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: January 31, 2012
- Cast: Daniel Craig, Naomi Watts, Rachel Weisz
- Director: Jim Sheridan
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence, terror, some sexuality and brief strong language
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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