Scrolling Headlines:

UMass men’s basketball falters in the second half, falling to George Washington 83-67 Thursday -

February 24, 2017

UPDATE: SGA announces second and third artist for ‘Mullins Live!’ -

February 23, 2017

Divest UMass and STPEC host panel on building ‘solidarity economies’ in the Trump era -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s basketball losing streak extends to 10 games after loss to URI -

February 23, 2017

Sixth annual Advocacy Day set to take place March 1 -

February 23, 2017

Panel discusses racial, sexual and psychological violence in response to art exhibit -

February 23, 2017

Judy Dixon enters final season with UMass tennis with simple message: One match at a time -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball enduring early-season limitation in playing in New England -

February 23, 2017

Minutewomen softball begins season with cross-country travel, string of tournaments -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball looks to bounce back from disappointing 2016 season -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior Hannah Murphy is Angela McMahon’s latest legend in the making -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior defenders accept leadership roles in quest for ninth consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship -

February 23, 2017

Kelsey McGovern rejoins UMass women’s lacrosse as an assistant coach after starring for Minutewomen -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse looks to continue improving throughout 2017 season -

February 23, 2017

Spring Sports Special Issue 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defense relying on senior leadership with new faces in starting lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball fills holes left by seniors with freshmen for 2017 -

February 23, 2017

The Hart of the Lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball prepares for a long, busy season in 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defenseman Tyler Weeks makes his way back from ACL injury -

February 23, 2017

“Dream House” is a nightmare

If you haven’t seen the trailer for “Dream House,” you probably haven’t turned on a television this past week. More importantly, you were spared from the virtual broadcasting of half the film’s plot. I won’t lie – for the most part, what you see in the trailer is what you get.

“Dream House” follows Will Atenton (Daniel Craig), an editor at a major publishing company who decides to leave his demanding work schedule to spend more time with his wife (Rachel Weisz) and two daughters in suburban New England. Will acclimates himself to his new home and soon meets his neighbor, Ann Patterson (Naomi Watts), a middle-aged woman who is divorcing her short-fused husband Jack (Marton Csokas) and is consequently vying for custody of their teenage daughter (Rachel G. Fox). The Pattersons are mostly distant to their new neighbors and are quite obviously hiding the big fat secret the audience is looking for.

 

Life moves forward, but the Atenton family begins to notice a figure looming outside their house at night, and after finding a group of cult-like teenagers performing a ritual in his basement, Will Atenton learns of a series of notorious murders that took place in his home. It turns out that the previous family was shot by the father, the infamous Peter Ward, who was recently released from a psych ward due to lack of evidence. Atenton connects the dots and figures their new stalker could be Ward, and thus begins his quest to find and stop the man harassing his family.

For those who haven’t seen the trailer and actually care to see “Dream House,” stop here.  For those who have indeed seen the trailer, we all know from the get-go that Atenton is Peter Ward, an undeniably huge plot spoiler. It turns out that this detail isn’t revealed until about halfway through the film. This should tell you something about the imbalanced structure and agonizingly slow pace of this film, not to mention the end is wrapped almost as quickly as the trailer is cut.

On top of this, Atenton is one of the more boring protagonists in recent memory, a nearly silent if handsome character, who basically utters just about every conceivable cliché nice-guy line within the first act. After this however, the tone shifts to mystery, and Atenton falls into the denial-ridden character we all knew he would be. The supporting cast doesn’t offer much either, as the characters stand idly by for most of the film with limited character depth.

So the plot is predictable, that’s fine. Though, perhaps there’s something to appreciate in the overall style of the film, in order to make up for the shoddy plotline. Unfortunately, however, there is not. “Dream House” uses just about every popular horror technique in the book: abrupt cuts to make you jump; lingering shots that lead nowhere; and swelling violins in the score to build faux suspense. Originality is nowhere to be found.

This is a curiosity, considering the attachment of revered director Jim Sheridan, who helmed such well-received efforts as “My Left Foot” and “In the Name of the Father.” It seems that there were some butting of heads in regards to the final cut of the film, and it may be entirely possible that Sheridan’s version may have been watered down by the studio. It baffles me that studios decide to produce this kind of film, rife with miscast and uninteresting characters, hackneyed story concepts and almost totally stolen production techniques.

Save your money and integrity. Don’t see this film.

Adam Abdelmaksoud can be reached at aabdelma@student.umass.edu.

Comments
One Response to ““Dream House” is a nightmare”
  1. Diane Maksoud says:

    This is not the genre I prefer, but your piece is inciteful. Good job!

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