They didn't show this one to film critics before the opening day.
You know what else they didn't show to film critics this week? Courageous, the Christian movie funded by a Georgia church that has no famous actors in it at all. And that movie has an excuse; its target audience doesn't care what fancy film critics think. They're going anyway. But this movie exists within the framework of the Hollywood system, so when you see that it's a movie starring Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts, a movie directed by a formerly acclaimed director like Jim Sheridan, doesn't have the nerve to show itself before opening day, something's wrong.
So here they all are, playing along, pretending they're acting in something more significant than a haunted house movie/dumb psychological thriller where the first of two gotcha plot twists is already given away in the trailer.
Here's that trailer's plot twist: Daniel Craig, who thinks he's a writer living happily with his wife and two daughters, is really just dreaming and is, in reality, the very man accused of murdering that same wife and two daughters. They're ghosts. He's psychotic. Or is he?
Well, you know he's not. And you don't even have to read a spoiler-filled review (there won't be any more of those here, so you can keep going) to figure out that the film is abiding by a few unofficial movie laws. The first one is that you can't root both for and against a big movie star like Daniel Craig. And the second one is that any recognizable character actor behaving strangely, but who also seems to have nothing to do with the plot, has a lot to do with the plot.
The guy sitting two rows in front of me and Grae Drake (he was one of three other paying audience members besides us) decided about halfway through the movie that texting was more interesting. And he was right. I have no idea what he was typing but I'm sure whatever it was, even if it was a note to himself to pick up some pork chops on the way home, was more relevant to my life than what was playing out on screen.
But that doesn't mean you should ignore it. If you do you'll miss Naomi Watts's least plausible presence in a film in maybe forever as she helplessly inhabits a nonsense character whose contribution to the plot is to simply silently withhold answers to questions other characters ask of her. You'll also miss Rachel Weisz's big moment where she's trying to convince Daniel Craig of... I don't know, something... with a wide open mouth that is either meant to suggest fear or a desire to make out with him, not sure which.
Furthermore, the finished product features one of the silliest climaxes to a thriller in recent memory and a final scene so jarringly ignorant of anything resembling the real emotional lives of human beings that it has to be seen to be believed.
In other words, when it hits your local discount theater, go and talk back to the screen.