Dream House

  • Review Date: September 30, 2011
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 92 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Muddled, weird thriller has disturbing violence.
  • Review Date: September 30, 2011
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 92 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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

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

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.

Sex

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

Language

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).

Consumerism
Not applicable
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.

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:September 30, 2011
DVD release date: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

This review of Dream House was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byijustlovemovies October 1, 2011
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

intellegent fun thriller

well i saw this movie just the other night in theaters and me and my friends got a good scare and it was suprisingly enjoyable. everybody loved this is a intelegent fun mystery thriller with limited blood or gore there might be a disturbing scar or two and there are child deaths but otherwise this is a fun thrill ride you wont want to miss but save it for your teens
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 14 years old Written bynoideawhattoputhere December 13, 2012
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

Awesome movie, very few violent scenes, emotional intensity.

There is some violence in this movie, but the violent images are not bad at all. The thing that makes the violence worse than the images themselves is the way the images are presented, the fantasy/reality confusion, and the children involved. If you can handle the emotions, you are probably fine, but some scenes look like they are taken from a nightmare (because of the emotions, not the images).
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 12 years old March 13, 2012
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

GREAT THRILLER MOVIE!

This movie has a great twist in it. It's perfect if you want it to keep you at the edge of your seat! The only disturbing scene is when the two little girls start dying, only to reveal some nasty wounds. Though the topic may be a bit strong for some children,so you may want to talk to them about the movie first.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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