Monday, 19 October 2015

Film opening 5: Dream House (2011)

Director: Jim Sheridan

Writers: David Loucka

Actors: Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts

Production Companies: Cliffjack Motion Pictures, Morgan Creek Productions, Universal Pictures

Budget: $55.000.000 (estimated)

Genre: Mystery, Drama, Thriller


Some say that all houses have memories. For one man, his home is the place he would kill to forget. A family unknowingly moves into a homes where several grisly murders were committed… only to find themselves the killer's next target.


When the very first ident of Universal pictures opens, there is a non-diegetic sound of a little girl humming a song in the background. At one point there are added very slow bells to it, which come across as a very mystical sound. 
As the ident of the Morgan Creek Productions comes up, the non-diegetic sound of the voice, bells and this time also flutes continues. The bells could also suggest that it is Christmas.
When the title of the movie 'Dream House' appears on screen with a black background it is a very neutral and white font

After this small opening sequence, the audience sees a low angle shot of a tall building while it is snowing from the outside.

We are introduced to one of the main characters, while there is a magical non-diegetic sound appearing when we first see this character. We follow some of their dialogues and come to notice that he is quitting his job to be able to write a book. 
In addition, we then see a close-up of a book lying on the table with drawings and notes in it. On the front, you notice that it says 'Daddy's Dream House'. This could imply that the font from the title of the film has been chosen on purpose, since it could represent the titles of a book cover. 

What is interesting to notice, is that there is no 'real' opening sequence besides from the idents appearing with the non-diegetic music and the title of the film. This means that it was chosen to put the credits at the end of the movie in stead of the beginning, which is very unusual. One reason for this could be because they want the audience to notice every hint being dropped that could show the genre of the movie. 


In the case for this film we can't really make any comments on the font, since there is no font to see except for the one that is in the title. As mentioned before, the title of the film could have been a font chosen on purpose to represent the book covers since the audience finds out that the main character wants to write a book.
In addition, we could interpret, that the low angle shot in the beginning of the film is a sign of showing the audience that the main character is in a high position. We later on find out that he is or has been an editor and that he will be missed by his co-workers, since they drink champagne before he leaves to wish him well.
Moreover, the close-up of his book that says: 'Daddy's Dream House', is a signifier that he could have children.
For the symbolic level, we know that the non-diegetic magical music being played, when we are introduced to the character, symbolizes the piece and happiness in his life. 
Moreover, snow and the magical sound at the same time are very often interpreted as either Christmas time or just a cold time of year. 

Narrative exposition:

In this opening sequence, we can apply Todorov's theory, since there is firstly established an equilibrium. This is established, when we see the first main character and there is a magical non-diegetic sound appearing. Due to this, we know for a fact that all is well and nothing is going to happen yet. 

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