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Dream House (2011 film)

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

Dream House
Two girls holding hands, their dresses match the wallpaper behind them.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJim Sheridan
Produced by
Written byDavid Loucka
Music byJohn Debney
CinematographyCaleb Deschanel
Edited byBarbara Tulliver
Distributed byUniversal Pictures (North America)
Warner Bros. Pictures (International)
Release date
  • September 30, 2011 (2011-09-30)
Running time
92 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$50 million[2]
Box office$38.5 million


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 upstate "dream house" near the forest. Soon, however, they start to grew uneasy due to 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 kids, 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 strangely unwilling to assist. He also approaches his neighbor Ann (Naomi Watts), who seems apprehensive, while her estranged husband Jack (Marton Csokas) appears outright hostile of Will. Will decides to conduct his own investigations, visiting the facility where Peter Ward was housed, and in doing so he finds out that he actually is Peter Ward. Five years earlier, 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 old house, which is now condemned and covered in graffiti, but in Peter's disturbed mind, it's still unspoiled and inhabited by Libby and the girls.

Peter is forcedly 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 try and move on, but Peter eventually returns to the house to confront his memories, ultimately realizing that he indeed did not kill his wife and kids. It was a local man named Boyce (Elias Koteas), who broke into the house and shot Peter's family, while Libby, trying to subdue the intruder, shot Peter inadvertently.

Peter and Ann are suddenly attacked by Jack, who reveals that he had hired Boyce to kill Ann so he could get revenge against her for divorcing him, as well as full custody of their daughter Chloe. However, Boyce got into the wrong house and accidentally killed Peter's family instead. Still helped by Boyce, Jack decides to kill Ann and set the house on fire, framing Peter for her murder. He also shoots Boyce as punishment for his early failure. As Jack ignites a fire, Peter overpowers Jack and saves Ann. A wounded Boyce douses Jack in gasoline, but Jack shoots him in the head before being consumed by the flames.

While Ann and Chloe reunite, Peter says goodbye to the mental projections 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, received criticism for revealing the main plot twist of the film.[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, 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 11 October 2011 and features fifteen tracks of score at a running time of fifty-six 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]


  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)". 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.

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