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(2011), PG-13 [R-13*] (84.85min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
February 5, 2012
February 7, 2012

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2011), PG-13 [R-13*] ... All seems too good to be real.

Production (US): Morgan Creek, James G. Robinson
Distribution (US): Universal Studios
Director(s): Jim Sheridan
Producer(s): James G. Rosinson, David Robinson, Daniel Bobker, Ehren Kruger, Rick Nicita, Mike Drake
Written by: David Loucka
Cinematography/Camera: Caleb Deschannel
Music: Joh Debney
Film Editing: Glen Scantlebury, Barbara Tulliver
Casting: Avy Kaufman
Production Design: Carol Spier
Art Direction: Elinor Galbraith
Viewed on Universal Studios Home Entertainment DVD

Shortly after the beginning of the show Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) quits his editor job at GPH Publishers in NYC to go home to New Ashford, Connecticut to spend more time with his family and to write a book. Wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and daughters, seven year old Trish (Taylor Geare) and five year old Dee Dee (Claire Geare) were ecstatic that dad was coming home to stay. He had spent so much time on his job. Will just bought a house in New Ashford that, unbeknownst to Will, was five years ago home to a man named Peter Ward (Daniel Craig) who was accused of shooting to death his wife, Elizabeth (Rachel Weisz) and two little girls, seven year old Beatrice (Taylor Geare) and five year old Katherine (Claire Geare) in that house. The whole town of New Ashford believes the surviving husband, Peter Ward to be the murderer.

The setting is idyllic and paradisiacal. Everything is as one might hope of a fun, happy, adoring ... and obedient ... patriarchal "everything's okay, daddy's here" family. All seems too good to be real. As we discover, it is ... too good to be real.

Soon Will discovers he is entwined in some way with the past of the house ... and with Peter Ward. His only reliable connection is Ann Patterson (Naomi Watts) from across the street. Ann knew Peter and the rest of the Ward family. Elizabeth was Ann's best friend. Ann's ex-husband Jack (Marton Csokas) soon plays a key role in Will's investigations into the past. Boyce (Elias Koteas) helps Jack in his nefarious scheme. And Ann's daughter, Chloe (Rachel Fox) provides key support to the Will Atenton profile.

By the way, this is not a "teen flick" since the teens in it do not cuss more than the adults nor do any teens get in bed with each other or anyone else nor do any of them get drunk. But the show is beyond any shadow of doubt a R-13. With a final score of 30 out of 100 while R-rated features in the comparative baseline database earned final scores of 54 and below out of 100 ... well, you do the math. Of the six CAP content investigation areas (W, I, S, D, O and M), only one of them (S - Sexual Immorality) found content to be PG-13 equivalent. Drugs/Alcohol (D) found content to earn a PG-equivalent area score but all of the remaining four content investigation areas found content to generate R-equivalent scores.

Not a "teen flick?" Maybe it is after all. A gaggle of intrusive teens (excluding Chloe) used profanity three times in their one minute and two seconds of screen time. Adults used profanity ten times in their 84.85 minutes of screen time. Three times in 1.05 minutes (a ratio of 2.86) is a lot higher density than ten times in 84.85 minutes (a ratio of 0.118). Hollywood must think teens cannot speak without using profanity. Maybe many teens choose to speak profanity profusely but maybe it is because of films like this one that portray teens as cuss freaks.


Following are brief discussions of the content per individual content investigation area. As always the Findings section of this report, the heart of the CAP Analysis Model, is the best source for discovering the full accounting of the content of this film.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
The violence content of this film is quite intense at times, particularly as Jack pumps two bullets into Boyce that do not kill Boyce then a third bullet that does kill him as Boyce pours an accelerant that incinerates Jack. This is an example of exactly what God warns us in Proverb 16:29. He warns that violence can be "contagious": that it can lead one into the way that is not good. Even man has echoed God by four professional public health agencies jointly warning that violence in and as entertainment can, among other things, lead the viewer, especially the young, to real life violence and can lead one to believe violence is an acceptable means of settling conflict.

This is just one example of the violence in this film of which there are too many to even summarize in this discussion. The listing in the Findings section provides an accounting of all the violence found.

Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
Ten times profanity is used, one of which is the most foul of the foul words. [Col. 3:8, Eph. 4:29] But that is not nearly all of the impudent content. Some of the items include a hateful exchange, teens trespassing, teen arrogance toward the property owner, facial piercing, punk dress and attire, a teen running off after mother's command to return, lying and more.

A lifestyle of arrogance and rebellion will exact a heavy price unless the arrogant and rebellious ones are forgiven and humble themselves before the One who spent three days in Hell so we would not have to spend one moment there.. [Isa. 13:11] And God warns us of arrogance in many places. [Jer. 6:15, Prov. 6:16 - 19, Isa. 2:17, Mal. 4:1]

Sexual Immorality (S) - 57 out of 100
As with most PG-13 films, someone is in bed with someone, just not teens as is typical of PG-13s. The script may have had Will and Libby married but Craig and Wiesz are not. For most healthy men, to see his wife straddle her crotch on another man's crotch, even in underwear, would be bad. Note that "acting" does not excuse sin. Besides this, Craig apparently likes to expose his below navel skin. Repeatedly. No, it is not up to me whether such behavior onscreen is sinful. I did not write the Rules. The One who spent three says in Hell so you and I would not have to spend one moment there did. He is entitled to decide what is sinful.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 80 out of 100
Atypical of most PG-13 movies is the absence of alcohol. There was none I could find in Dream house. There was, however, one instance of smoking. The most severe loss of points was due to the use of chloroform to drug two people into submission.

Offense to God (O) - Zero out of 100
God's name was abused 19 times through the course of the 84.85 minutes of this film (none of them by teens). Three of the abuses of His name were with the four letter expletive. [Deut. 5:11] But the heaviest presence of unholy content were the frequent revenants. A revenant is one who has supposedly returned from the dead. According to the story, Libby, Trish and Dee Dee were murdered and buried. Will spent most of the story living with them and talking to them and making out with the Libby revenant. We are not to communicate with the dead. [Deut. 18:10-12]

Murder/Suicide (M) - 41 out of 100
There are five murders portrayed in this film: three adults and two little girls.



If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "fantasy" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for the American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Their findings include:
    --> Children who see a lot of violence are more likely to view violence as an effective way of settling conflicts. Children exposed to violence are more likely to assume the acts of violence are acceptable behavior.
    --> Viewing violence can lead to emotional desensitization towards violence in real life. It can decease the likelihood that one will take action on behalf of a victim when violence occurs.
    --> Entertainment violence feeds a perception that the world is a violent and mean place. Viewing violence increases fear of becoming a victim of violence, with a resultant increase in self-protective behavior and a mistrust of others.
    --> Viewing violence may lead to real life violence. Children exposed to violent programming at a young age have a higher tendency for violent and aggressive behavior later in life than children who are not so exposed.
    Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
    o Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off [rid yourself of] all these; anger, wrath, malice [kakia: ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness, depravity, evil, trouble, not ashamed to break laws, etc.], blasphemy [blasphemia: impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty], filthy communication [aischrologia:foul speaking, low and obscene speech] out of your mouth.
  • Eph. 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
  • Isa. 13:11 I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.
  • Jer. 6:15 Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them," says the LORD.
  • Prov. 6:16 - 19 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
  • Isa. 2:17 And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.
  • Mal. 4:1 "Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire," says the LORD Almighty. "Not a root or a branch will be left to them."
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as in slang or profanity. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion and in praise and prayer is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title even if as a euphemism. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking TO God/Jesus when I said that" or It's just words" or "I was acting" will not work with Him. Nor will "Everybody says that" excuse the sin of using His name in vain. If everyone on the planet who has ever drawn a breath used His name in vain, it would still be a sin to do so. If no one ever did, it would still be a sin to do so. Whether we believe it or not. Whether we like it or not. Whether we care or not.]
  • Deut. 18:10 - 12 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination [to seek knowledge of the future], or an observer of times [seeks knowledge of the future], or an enchanter [one who practices divination, observes the signs or omens], or a witch, Or a charmer [makes alliance with evil by charms], or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer [one who communicates with the dead]. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD:...

    Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry

  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend what is vile, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it.]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Dream House (2011) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) -Zero out of 100
  • reckless endangerment of self and daughter - vehicular
  • invasion into residence
  • threat to kill
  • attempted vehicular homicide, repeatedly
  • maniacal behavior, repeatedly
  • graphic images of children having been shot
  • gunfire to kill, multiple, intense
  • gunfire injury, multiple, some due to point-blank shooting
  • breaking and entering
  • beating, graphic
  • hiring to commit murder
  • order to kill
  • firearm to the face
  • dousing to commit arson
  • defensive beating
  • arson
  • death by incineration
  • man running into burning house

    Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
  • nine uses of profanity, three by teens
  • one use of the most foul of the foul words
  • hateful exchange
  • teens trespassing
  • teen arrogance toward property owner, multiple
  • facial piercing
  • punk dress
  • teens staging murders with dolls and mannequin
  • trespassing to snoop
  • physical spousal abuse
  • lie
  • teen running off after mother's command to return

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 57 out of 100
  • man and woman in bed in underwear
  • woman straddling man's crotch with hers
  • man and woman in bed making out
  • man and woman in bed together again
  • exposure to below navel skin threatening exposure of that which follows, male, repeatedly
  • man in towel only
  • man nude in bathtub, genitals unseen

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 80 out of 100
  • smoking, once
  • drugging to subdue, two

    Offense to God (O) - Zero out of 100
  • 16 uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive and three with it
  • entertaining unholy spiritual cleansing of a house
  • images of revenants, frequent, throughout
  • reliving the past involving the dead
  • making out with a revenant

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 41 out of 100
  • gunfire murder
  • gunfire murder of two children and mother
  • gunfire murder of cohort, exceptionally brutal with multiple shots

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    * CAP Equivalence to MPAA Rating Scale:
    Please note our new manner of indicating a film's Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating in comparison with the CAP equivalence such as "PG-13 [R-13]." The first term is the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) rating. The second term [in brackets] indicates that which the film earned under the CAP analysis model. In the example, "PG-13 [R-13]" indicates the MPAA rated the film PG-13 but the film earned a CAP final score in the scoring range earned by R-rated movies in the comparative baseline database. Other comparative terms used might be "PG [13-PG]", "G [PG-G] or even 'PG-13 [PG]" as was the case for Alien vs Predator. I doubt there will ever be a "G [R]" used, but only time will tell. The CAP analysis model is Rock-solid. The MPAA is not.

    The current CAP to MPAA** nomenclature is:

    For G rated Films with
    G equivalence: G
    PG equivalence: PG-G
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-G
    R equivalence: R-G<
    For PG rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-PG
    PG equivalence: PG
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-PG
    R equivalence: R-PG
    For PG-13 rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-13
    PG equivalence: PG(13)
    PG-13 equivalence: PG-13
    R equivalence: R-13
    For R rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-R
    PG equivalence: PG-R
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-R
    R equivalence: R
    For NR rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-NR
    PG equivalence: PG-NR
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-NR
    R equivalence: R-NR
    ** G, PG, PG-13 and R are registered trademarks of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

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