Dream House Nightmare (2017)

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From the producers who gave you the famous Sharknado franchise comes this tale of a mother who goes to great lengths to get her dream home.

A one-time Mother of the Year, Madison Dupree is a woman who thinks she found her dream home when she comes to a suburb not too far from her backwoods home in Louisiana. She is hoping the house will be able to help her cope with her family, which consists of husband Ethan, a man addicted to painkillers due to a nagging injury; and daughter Destiny, a 17-year old autistic girl who suffers from epilepsy. However, after she makes an offer, she learns a couple have arrived to look at the house as well. The couple, Thom and Theresa Wade, who are expecting a baby, have outbid and have the house.

Angry that she lost the house to the Wades, she decides to start trouble by pulling off some pranks, including leaving notes. She first makes an offer of $30,000 for them to move out. However, on Halloween, Theresa and Madison meet face to face and while Theresa seems to have bonded with Destiny by giving her a pair of headphones, Madison is shocked to learn that they cut a down a tree in the backyard. This sets off a series of events that threaten not only Thom and Theresa, but the whole community as well. However, it is nothing compared to what will happen when Madison is forced to tell her husband the truth about why she hasn’t given him enough attention.

Based on true events, this film, undergoing a name change from Mother of the Year to the more exploitive Dream House Nightmare, is definitely Lifetime movie fodder from The Asylum. There are some tense moments and there are some very sympathetic moments that makes this film not completely bad. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t questions that need to be answered in some aspect, notably on two specific characters.

Rachel G. Whittle’s Theresa is the innocent victim in the entire mess and we also learn she is a flawed character as well. We learn that while she is pregnant, she did lose twins three years ago, so she is quite shy and nervous due to her condition. However, you can’t really feel sympathy for her husband Thom, played by David A. Cole at first. He gives off a bad vibe as being too condescending for his own good. He tends to overreact when things happen. It is when the community confronts the duo that we finally see the softer side of Thom, who maybe in some way realizes what an [censored] he really was and gets sympathy from them despite the actions of our antagonist.

Teresa Aiello’s Madison is flawed in the sense that she was a one-time Mother of the Year who is so flawed in that she must face dilemmas in the form of her pill’ poppin hubby Ethan and her autistic daughter Destiny. Aiello is someone you first feel a bit of sympathy for until she goes into villain mode as she pulls off various pranks in her attempt to drive the family out of there.

Now, Destiny is the one character in the entire film, aside from Theresa, that you will feel the most sympathy for and it is Tenea Intriago’s performance in the role that makes the film at least watchable because there are scenes where she finds herself in situations she is uncomfortable with and plays a vital role in the film’s third act. The fact she is a special needs character and one who bonds with the lead character makes for a good thing while Brett Baker’s Ethan is Thom times one hundred, going very crazy and psychotic due to his addictions. Like Destiny, Ethan plays an important role in the third act, but not in the way one would expect.

Dream House Nightmare is mostly Lifetime movie fodder, but you can’t help but praise Tenea Intriago’s performance of a special needs teenager who finds herself torn between her mother’s actions and the young woman of the house her mother intended to take.

WFG RATING: C

A production of The Asylum. Director: Jose Montesinos. Producer: David Michael Latt. Writers: Aaron Johnson and Delondra Mesa. Cinematography: Rafael Leyva. Editing: Jose Montesinos.

Cast: Rachel G. Whittle, Teresa Aiello, David A. Cole, Tenea Intriago, Brett Baker, Tony Beard, Heather Camps, Joy Christie Di Cresce, Escalante Lundy, Raylee Magill.

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