(out of 5)
It’s hard to do worse than this thriller, producing few chills, rife with bad character clichés and a hackneyed plot that makes all its actors look incredibly brainless (they apparently agree, since the finished project resulted in all of the leads refusing to participate in any pre-release promotion). Likely the top-flight cast was attracted to so stinky a project (which could not have looked good on paper) by the involvement of director Jim Sheridan, but the changes and cuts made by Morgan Creek’s studio bosses, who ended up taking the project over from the director with whom they were not getting along, resulted in highly forgettable tripe. Daniel Craig quits his high-paying, big-city job to stay in his new suburban house, work on his novel and spend time with his wife (Rachel Weisz) and two little girls. Not long after he enters this early retirement, however, he finds out that a mass murder occurred in his abode directly before he owned it, and his girls start seeing a strange man hanging around outside. He tries to find out more information from the icy blonde neighbor across the street (Naomi Watts,, an actress so talented she can actually survive this drivel) but she clams up whenever she is around him. From there it gets twisty, and I’ll avoid ruining it for anyone suicidal enough to watch it, but suffice it to be said that the rest of the plot is just the stitching together of a whole slew of other equally trashy (or some superior) films. Craig embarrasses himself trying to shed his stoic thugness to be a warm family man, Weisz looks like she’s wondering why she bothered to get involved at all (though she did get a husband out of the process), and the children display everything annoying and packaged in child actors that Sheridan’s own In America did such a good job of staying away from.
Directed by Jim Sheridan
Screenplay by David Loucka
Cinematography by Caleb Deschanel
Music by John Debney
Production Design by Carol Spier
Costume Design by Delphine White