Will (Craig) has just quit his job as a Manhattan editor to spend more time with his wife (Weisz) and young daughters (Geare and Geare) in their suburban home. But something isn't right. A suspicious man (Koteas) is lurking in the night, while the ex-husband (Csokas) of the neighbour (Watts) across the street oozes pure rage. Then Will starts to realise that nothing is what it seems to be. And he'll need to face reality if he hopes to sort things out.
If you managed to avoid this film's ubiquitous trailer, the plot's key gimmick, which isn't revealed until halfway in, might feel like a clever twist.
Otherwise, there's absolutely no tension in the build-up. Then the choppy screenplay stirs in a contrived villain. And it's clear who this will be even before we realise that the story needs a villain, which it doesn't. Beneath all of this are the ruins of a more interesting blending of The Shining with The Others.
Even so, Craig delivers a committed performance as a father who thinks he's losing his mind. Craig's movie-star charisma and buff physique add interest to a guy who's deeply conflicted and spends much of the film unsure of what's actually happening. Weisz and Watts are also solid, even if their characters feel underwritten, but Csokas and especially Koteas are wasted in roles that have no weight at all.
Director Sheridan establishes a wonderfully dreamy tone that nicely contrasts with the realistic family interaction. And the early creep-outs are genuinely unnerving. Then the story slips into corny, overwrought nuttiness with a script full of gaping holes (one Google search would solve the whole mystery) and production designers who think that bad lighting in the basement is all you need to create atmosphere. But the real problem is that the film feels tampered with, edited into something neither the director nor writer intended. And the result is a thriller that's both bland and predictable
Run time: 92 mins
In Theaters: Friday 30th September 2011
Box Office USA: $21.3M
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Production compaines: Cliffjack Motion Pictures, Morgan Creek Productions
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 6%
Fresh: 5 Rotten: 77
IMDB: 5.9 / 10
Director: Jim Sheridan
Screenwriter: David Loucka
Starring: Daniel Craig as Will Atenton, Naomi Watts as Ann Patterson, Rachel Weisz as Libby Atenton, Marton Csokas as Jack Patterson, Elias Koteas as Boyce, Taylor Geare as Trish, Claire Geare as Dee Dee, Rachel G. Fox as Chloe Patterson, Jane Alexander as Dr. Greeley, Brian Murray as Dr. Medlin, Bernadette Quigley as Heather Keeler, Sarah Gadon as Cindi, Gregory Smith as Artie, Mark Wilson as Capt. Conklin, David Huband as Officer Nelson
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