Dream House (2011) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1462041/
We join the film as Will Atenton resigned from his job as editor at a publishing company. He plans to write a book as he retires with his wife and daughters (5 and 7) to a recently purchased a house in the boonies. Soon after moving in to the place the girls report they've seen a man hiding outside looking in the windows. As Will investigates he stumbles upon and chases away a group of teenagers in the basement holding a 'spooky session' commemorating the 5-year anniversary of the house's infamous history. Unknown to Will and his family, the previous family was shot to death in the house. That is, all but the husband, who was shot in the head by his wife but survived and had been institutionalized. Mystery engaged.
I watched this film trailer-unseen solely because I saw that the primary cast was Daniel Craig as Will, Rachel Weisz as his wife Libby, and Naomi Watts as the neighbor Ann.
Anymore if I see Rachel Weisz is in a film I'm going to probably watch it unless it seems to be a hardcore romance film. I hold Naomi Watts in almost as high esteem as well. I love the work those actresses have done and can count on them delivering top-notch performances. Craig is a fine actor as well, however he needs to work on his American accent some. Weisz delivers a flawless American accent, Craig, not so much.
I was also pleased to see Elias Koteas and Martin Csokas in the film too. Koetas has been delivering solid support performances for decades now. Csokas does well in everything I recall seeing him in, I'm just not as familiar with his work as the others.
Production is fine, acting good, sound and music score are fine. The child actors are cute, realistic and not annoying, which I truly appreciate. Bad child acting can ruin a film. Seriously. For example, as good a film as "A History of Violence" is, my watching experience was ruined by the gal playing the daughter. Darnit, now I gotta watch that film again just to remember why I hated that girl so much.
Sorry about getting off track there. Back to Dream House.
The story, well, unfortunately I've watched so many similar story lines in films over the years that I quickly surmised where the story is going early on in the film. I got most of the twists figured out rather quickly, although there were still some things I had to wait to see to tie the threads together and such. I had one minor gripe about a fleeting moment that occurs near the end of the film. I suppose I could let it slide but it just irked me because it crossed a line the film hadn't crossed the whole time.
I can't explain those things without spoiling the film, nor can I provide titles of films of similar ilk without telegraphing how this film unfolds. Chances are if you've seen any of those similar films I have in mind you'll catch on quick enough as well.
Honestly this isn't an especially great or groundbreaking film, but I still liked it well enough. Lucky for me I hadn't had any preconceptions about what the film was supposed to be like or about. I enjoyed the film despite self-spoiling it for myself. I think the things that made the film work are the high-quality cast and a coherent story with hardly any useless distractions or dropped threads.
Even though I knew where the road was going I enjoyed the trip.