Dream Home

Director: Amir Valinia

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

The jewelbox illustration of a toddler on a trike in front of a big spooky house implies a classy ghost story, so I grabbed Dream House (2006). I'm perfectly aware boxes are frequently decorated with rather random illustrations, especially when the film itself has nothing in it worthy of advertising.

Dream HomeSo the architecturally bland house in the film bears no relationship to the great Addams Family house on the jewelbox, it was just that any image from the film would've screamed "not worth watching." When I let myself get screwed like this, I only blame myself for taking a chance on unknowns.

With its unusual level of amateurism, the best moment in the film is when you hear the director yell "Cut!" at the end of a scene. Mediocre videography is the perfect medium for acting so terrible but earnest that it actually made me kind of sad that these kids seem really to want to be actors & simply lack the stuff.

Not that they've got much to work with in the appallingly inept script. Badly composed cliches like "Why would it be cold in just one room?" are rather shy of scintillating, & when the first "vision" occurs, all hope of even a little tiny bit of entertainment is pretty well dashed.

I should've stopped watching it after the first twenty minutes but I convinced myself it'd have a climax of interest & I had to hold out to the end. It also had a primarily black cast, which I thought would make the characters a little more unique than the usual cluster of whitebread barbies & kens that inhabit too many cheap films of this kind. Alas these performers are as whitebread as anyone.

A young couple (Corey Stills & Chantelle Winchester who never seem natural or real) buy a house which is of course haunted, primarily by a harmless cat & secondarily by a mostly harmless white woman. The place has presumedly stood empty for decades, but it is clean & tidy & full of tastelessly selected fake antiques without a bit of dust on anything.

It's my guess the fully furnished "set" was someone's mother's house which she unfortunately got professionally cleaned before the children came to visit with their cameras & crew. Having those sparkling clean rooms serve as a long abandoned haunted house made about as much sense as filming it in the Quicky Mart or gradeschool classroom & pretending that was a long disused Victorian house.

Besides the white-lady ghost, there are two mysterious people in the neighborhood, carlin & coot, also white, who seem themselves to be ghosts, & at least strange.

Since the primary cast is all black & the spirits are all white, I sort of "reached" to find some degree of depth to this non-spectacle. There have existed in this sometimes unfortunate United States perfectly understandable reasons that black folk might portray themselves as the exclusive humans, surrounded by white folks, the demons who lynch, enslave, arrest, rape, & slaughter. Take the white hood off a honky cracker & you still have a honky cracker, & a film might well make use of the idea that white equals dead people & black equals living people.

But, alack, there's no subtext or symbolism in a film this trivial. Its premise is hardly a premise, merely that "kids in the neighborhood always said that house was haunted," & it is, but it's just the folkloric "I saw a ghost" type ghost story in which nothing more than that happens. So Dream Home fills its time with poorly written & poorly delivered chit-chat, then it ends without a climax.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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