Dream House (2011 film)

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Dream House
Two girls holding hands, their dresses match the wallpaper behind them.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJim Sheridan
Written byDavid Loucka
Produced by
CinematographyCaleb Deschanel
Edited byBarbara Tulliver
Music byJohn Debney
Distributed byUniversal Pictures (North America)
Warner Bros. Pictures (International)
Release date
  • September 30, 2011 (2011-09-30)
Running time
92 minutes[1]
CountriesUnited States
Budget$50 million[2]
Box office$40 million

Dream House is a 2011 American psychological thriller film directed by Jim Sheridan from Universal Pictures and Morgan Creek Productions, starring Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, and Marton Csokas.[3] It was released on September 30, 2011, in the United States and Canada and was panned by critics. It was released by Warner Bros. in international markets.


Will Atenton (Daniel Craig), a successful editor for a New York City publishing house, quits his job to focus on writing a book while spending more time with his wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and their young daughters, Trish and Dee Dee. The family is initially happy to live in their Fairfield County "dream house" near the forest. Soon, however, they grow uneasy because of a series of unsettling events, including their daughters seeing a strange man lurking outside and teenagers gathering in the basement. It all seems to tie to a crime committed in the house five years earlier, when a man named Peter Ward apparently murdered his wife and two children and was committed to a mental hospital from which he has been recently released due to lack of evidence.

Will tries to enlist the help of the local police, but they appear unwilling to assist. He also approaches his neighbor Ann (Naomi Watts), who seems apprehensive, while her estranged husband Jack (Marton Csokas) appears outright hostile to Will. Will decides to conduct his own investigations, visiting the facility where Peter Ward was housed, and discovers that he actually is Peter Ward. During the attack that claimed the lives of his wife and daughters, Peter was shot in the head, so he has no memories of the murders. In order to cope with the grief, he fabricated a delusion in which his family is still alive and a new identity for himself based on his inpatient ID band "W1-1L 8-10-10". Once dismissed, Peter moved back to his abandoned house, which is now condemned and covered in graffiti, but in Peter's mind, it is still unspoiled and inhabited by Libby and the girls.

Peter is forcibly removed from the dilapidated house and is taken in by Ann, who believes in his innocence and used to visit him at the facility. She encourages Peter to move on, but Peter eventually returns to the house to confront his memories, ultimately realizing that he did not kill his wife and children; it was a local man named Boyce (Elias Koteas), who broke into the house and shot Peter's family, while Libby, trying to subdue Boyce, shot Peter inadvertently.

Peter and Ann are suddenly attacked by Jack, who reveals that he had hired Boyce to kill Ann five years earlier, in retaliation for divorcing him and to obtain full custody of their daughter, Chloe. However, Boyce went to the wrong house and mistakenly killed Peter's family instead. Aided by Boyce, Jack decides to kill Ann himself and set the house on fire, framing Peter for her murder. He also shoots Boyce, to eliminate him as a witness. As Jack ignites a fire, Peter overpowers Jack and saves Ann with the help of his wife Libby who is revealed to be a spirit and not a mental projection, as are their daughters. Boyce douses Jack in gasoline before being killed, this results in Jack burning to death when he tries to escape through the flames.

While Ann and Chloe reunite, Peter says goodbye to the spirits of his wife and children. Some time later, Peter has returned to New York and published a best-selling book called Dream House, in which he recounts his tragic experiences.



Director Jim Sheridan reportedly clashed with Morgan Creek's James G. Robinson constantly on the set over the shape of the script and production of the film.[4] According to the Los Angeles Times, Sheridan tried to take his name off the film after being unhappy with it and his relationship with Morgan Creek Productions.[5]

Reportedly Sheridan, Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz disliked the final cut of the film.[6] The trailer, cut by Morgan Creek Productions, was criticised for revealing the film's main plot twist.[6][7]


Dream House: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
Released11 October 2011
LabelVarèse Sarabande
ProducerStephanie Pereida
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic link
Filmtracks link

The score to Dream House was composed by John Debney and conducted by Robert Ziegler. Christian Clemmensen, reviewer of Filmtracks.com, gave it four out of five stars, declaring it "among the biggest surprises of 2011" and stating, "It's not clear how badly Debney's work for Dream House was butchered by the studio's frantic last minute attempts to make the film presentable, but Debney's contribution does feature a cohesive flow of development that is, at least on album, a worthy souvenir from this otherwise messy situation."[8] The soundtrack was released on 11 October 2011 and features 15 tracks of score at a running time of 56 minutes.

1."Dream House"5:36
2."Little Girls Die"2:53
3."Footprints in the Snow"3:17
4."Peter Searches"6:00
5."Night Fever"1:33
7."Libby Sees Graffiti"2:33
8."Peter Ward's Room"2:10
9."Ghostly Playthings"3:17
10."Peter Ward's Story"3:13
11."Ghost House"2:37
12."Remember Libby"4:05
13."Murder Flashback"3:59
14."Peter Saves Ann/Redemption"7:29
15."Dream House End Credits"5:55


The film was not screened in advance for critics and was critically panned. On review aggregation Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 6% based on 86 reviews, with a rating average of 3.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Dream House is punishingly slow, stuffy and way too obvious to be scary."[9] Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average rating to reviews, gives the film a score of 35 out of 100, based on 16 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[10] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[11]

See also


  1. ^ "Dream House (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 2011-09-13. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  2. ^ Kaufman, Amy (September 29, 2011). "Movie Projector: Holdovers likely to beat '50/50,' 'Dream House'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  3. ^ "Rachel Weisz, Daniel Craig And Naomi Watts To Star In 'Dream House'". FilmoFilia. Retrieved February 11, 2010.
  4. ^ "Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz "Dream House" May Be a Nightmare". Hollywood News. July 21, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  5. ^ "24 Frames". Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ a b "Daniel Craig's Dream House Trailer Spoils The Entire Movie". Cinema Blend. July 20, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  7. ^ "'Dream House' Trailer Gives Away Too Many Secrets". Screenrant. July 20, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  8. ^ Clemmensen, Christian (5 October 2011). "Dream House (John Debney)". Filmtracks.com. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  9. ^ "Dream House (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  10. ^ "Dream House Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  11. ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Dream House" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved September 16, 2021.

External links