2011’s Dream House and The Thing release on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 31, 2012. So go get ’em! Or not.
Despite a promising plotline, acclaimed director Jim Sheridan, and star-studded cast Daniel Craig, Naomi Watts, Rachel Weisz, and Elias Koteas, critics almost unanimously determined Dream House a cinematic nightmare (according to the Tomatometer on the Rotten Tomatoes website). After moving to a peaceful New England town, Craig’s character, Atenton, comes to realize something is terribly wrong as his family discovers a dark stranger watching them. The plot thickens when Atenton and his wife (Weisz) uncover evidence of violent crimes perpetrated in the house some years before they moved in.
modenook.com’s own Tampa Movie Examiner Joe Belcastro, in his September 30, 2011, review, states that Dream House reveals its plot twist half-way through, and, “Once the story unveils the hook, the rest of the film struggles to keep the entertainment and interest levels from dipping.” Jeannette Catsoulis, in her September 30, 2011, New York Times review entitled, “Moving out of New York is just a bad idea,” states, “This crackpot thriller from the usually competent Jim Sheridan leaves only one mystery unsolved: what on earth was he thinking?”
Lacking the Academy Award caliber cast of Dream House and directed by virtual unknown Matthijs van Heijningen Jr., The Thing (a prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 film of the same name) fared slightly better with critics, but still sub-par (according to the Tomatometer on the Rotten Tomatoes website). Of course Carpenter’s was the second “Thing,” following the 1951’s Howard Hawks/Christian Nyby The Thing from Another World, All three versions are based on John W. Campbell, Jr.’s story Who Goes There?
Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen, Eric Christian Olsen, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, the story begins just prior to events in Carpenter’s earlier film with scientists traveling to Antarctica after discovery of an alien vessel. “Things” get dangerous after the dead alien they encounter regains consciousness and, before they realize what’s happened, due to its power to mimic anything it touches, the Thing begins to replicate crew members.
Roger Moore, in his October 12, 2011, review in the Orlando Sentinel, asserts that the film is “so enthralled with its actual ‘thing’ that it forgets to be scary or suspenseful.” Eric D. Snider in his October 14, 2011, review on Film.com says, “It’s the horror equivalent of those cheap, straight-to-video animated sequels that Disney’s always putting out: same title, same story, none of the inspiration.”