Darryll has had enough. All of these friendly cats and explicable dreams have just about driven him to the edge. He's sure that there's something supernatural going on, and he knows there's only one place place to turn for answers to his otherworldly queries: the hardware store. He makes Faye promise to stay awake, lest something happen to her in her dreams, and he departs for the store. At long last, the hardware store clerk, most fabled repository of occult knowledge, tells Darryll the grim, epic tale of what really happened in that house. It's a gripping story that unravels over close to ten minutes, but I'm going to see if I can sum it up for you:

A long time ago, Slingblade gave his inexplicably black daughter a crucifix for her birthday. Then he strangled her with it. Then his wife, a slow-talking white woman, died of grief.

Wow, I am just overcoming all sorts of challenges today! Hoo boy! The real challenge, though, is stretching the above story into a full ten minutes. The clerk can only do it by telling Darryll a pointless anecdote about his own father and grandmother that has nothing to do with the situation at hand. Try it yourself. See if you can do better. If you can, congratulations, I don't want to hear about it!

In the time that Darryll has been gone, Faye, of course, has fallen asleep. I don't know how he could have expected her to stay conscious. It's six thirty at night, for God's sake! She's only human! Darryll comes home, finds her asleep, and quickly shakes her back to consciousness. Once awake, she tells him that it wasn't Slingblade who killed the girl. Cue gag reel and end credits.

Really, that's the end.


Stop reading this, expecting me to fill you in on any sort of ending.

Honestly, quit it.

Okay, I'm all for psychological horror. I'm a big proponent of the idea that you don't need lots of blood to make a good horror movie. All the same, Dream Home really could have used some goddamn bodies. Nobody dies, nobody gets injured, and nobody is even particularly traumatized. Since Darryll and Faye managed to live in the supposedly haunted house for months with no problem until Faye found the crucifix, it really seems like they could have solved all of their problems if Faye would just stop wearing the damn thing. I mean, she only even has dreams related to the history of the house when she has it on. Take it off - presto! - no more problem. Hell, she can even keep the damn thing on. The only repercussions are a few iffy dreams and an occasional visit from Slingblade or slow-talking woman, both of whom are actually quite pleasant, once you get past the fact that it takes them forty-five minutes to finish a sentence. Plus they get a cat! Honestly, this movie seems more like an infomercial than a horror film. "Move into scenic, well-furnished Murder House! Friendly neighbors! Free cat!"

Honestly, the most frightening thing about this movie is how they spelled "Darryll." What the hell is that about? Sort of seems like letter overload, doesn't it? I'm sorry, but how hard is it to spell Daryl? It's not like Darrel is that tricky of a name. You just spell it how it sounds. I mean, I get the whole "reclaiming our African names" thing, but is that really an African name? Somehow, I don't think the next great black revolutionary is going to be named Dairill X.

Well, at least he had a name. Most of the characters in this shitfest had to go without. Normally, I'd blame the director for this sort of utter waste of time, but Amir Valinia, while he certainly did an absolutely unacceptable job, was not the main culprit. The real villain here is screenwriter Teiryn M. Fields. The dialogue in this movie seems to almost be aware of how atrocious it is. It is one thing to be quietly atrocious, but this dialogue practically calls attention to its own stupidity, and not in any sort of remotely comic or entertaining way. Take the realtor scene, for example. There are five separate lines referring to the price, two of which indicate that no price has yet been mentioned, and three of which indicate that a price was distinctly quoted on the phone previously. And that's not the worst. Take a look at these gems:

April: "It sounded like there was somebody in the bathroom wit' me. But there wasn't nobody in the bathroom with me." (Summary: I thought I saw someone in the bathroom."

Or how about:

Slow-talking woman: "Sometimes, it's out mind's way of telling us things that are going on around us. Or of things that have happened in the past. Or of things that are going to happen." (Summary: Sometimes our minds tell us things.)

And yet, despite all the longwinded exposition and painfully slow delivery, these lines can only stretch this movie out to seventy-two minutes. Maybe they could have hit that crucial eight minute mark if they had bothered to tack on a goddamn ending. The whole movie is leading up to supernatural beings trying to force Darryll and Faye out of their house. Not only does nothing even remotely supernatural happen for the first forty minutes, and not only do these supernatural things fail to have any impact until after the one hour mark, but when things finally start really moving, the damn movie just ends. I mean, I guess Faye's line at the end about Slingblade not being the real killer means that his wife actually killed their daughter. Even so, what does that have to do with Faye or Darryll? Oh no, the next time they go to the park and see that woman, they'll have to remember to not ask how her daughter's doing? Chilling.

Dream House is one of those annoying movies that does every single thing wrong, yet none of them wrong enough to be entertaining. The endlessly repetitive two-note piano music that cycles throughout the entire movie grates on the nerves after the first five minutes. The supposedly ghostly characters never come across as more than slow-witted, but friendly neighbors. And perhaps the worst offence: in a horror movie full of black people, not one of them dies! How am I supposed to enjoy this movie if it refuses to follow a single tradition?

Special Effects-7
Music / Sound-8

– Ben "Greasnin" Platt

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