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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dream House (Movie)


Peter Ward (Daniel Craig) is a mental patient who recently left a psychiatric hospital and then a halfway house. Five years earlier, his wife, Elizabeth (Rachel Weisz), and daughters Beatrice and Katherine were murdered at their home. During the attack, Peter was shot in the head, and has no memories of the murders. He has created his own world in which his family is fine and happy to be together. In his world, he is a successful book publisher named Will Atenton; Elizabeth is Libby Atenton; Beatrice is Trish Atenton; and Katherine is Dee Dee Atenton. This is where the movie begins, and the audience is led to believe that Atenton and his family are real.

Peter moves back to his abandoned old house and lives inside. It is boarded up and unsafe and covered with graffiti, but in Peter's disturbed mind, the house is gorgeous and his wife and kids live there happily.
Peter begins to re-connect with his old neighbors, including Ann Patterson (Naomi Watts). She recognizes Peter as her neighbor from five years ago and wonders why he is living in an unfit house. She begins to realize that Peter is still insane and that he is imagining that his dead family is alive in the house. He speaks as if everything is normal, and this alarms Ann.

Within Peter's delusion, Trish and Dee Dee start seeing a man watching the house from the front yard, and Will and Libby find evidence that something has happened to the house's previous owners. Will eventually discovers that, years prior, a woman named Elizabeth and her daughters Beatrice and Katherine were murdered, and her husband, Peter Ward, was the main suspect because they believed he was the only one at the house during the shooting, but was let off because of lack of evidence. Will starts believing that Peter Ward has returned and is stalking his family, and starts searching for more information about him. He doesn't yet realize that he himself is Peter Ward and that Will does not exist.

Will's research leads him to the psychiatric hospital where Peter Ward was committed after being arrested for murdering his family. There, Will discovers that he is Peter Ward, and created a new identity for himself in order to cope with the grief of his family's death. When he was still in the mental hospital being treated, he decided that he could not have been Peter Ward because he would never kill his family so, he made up a new name in which he used the numbers on his wrist band ID (W1-1L 8-10-10). In turn, the audience learns that everything that has occurred up to this point in the movie was just fantasy. Peter is informed by the doctors that he claimed he was innocent. He returns to his house, which is actually abandoned and decrepit, and converses with the projections of his wife and daughters, who claim that they believe in his innocence.

Peter eventually becomes closer to Ann and her daughter Chloe, and discovers that they were friends of his family. Ann believes in his innocence and encourages Peter to live a new life in order to heal himself. Peter eventually decides to return to his old house to confront his memories and, with Ann's help, realizes that he did not kill his family. It was a local man named Boycie (Elias Koteas), who broke into the house and shot Peter's wife and daughters. During the fight, Elizabeth tried to shoot Boyce and accidentally shot Peter, allowing Boyce to recover the handgun and kill her. Peter was then accused of the murder.

Peter and Ann are suddenly attacked by Boyce and Ann's ex, Jack, who reveals that he had hired Boyce to kill Ann so he could get revenge on her for divorcing him. Apparently, Boyce entered the wrong house and accidentally killed Peter's family. Jack decides to kill Ann and set the house on fire, framing Peter for her murder, and shoots Boyce as punishment for his early failure. As Jack tries to ignite a fire, Peter escapes, overpowers Jack and saves Ann. Boyce douses Jack in gasoline in revenge for being shot, but Jack shoots him in the head before being consumed by the flames.

While Ann and Chloe re-unite, Peter reenters the burning house and confronts the ghosts of his family; they forgive him and tell him to leave to save himself. Peter barely escapes the fire, having finally discovered the truth about the past and accepted his family's deaths. On his way out, he recovers the scrapbook/journal/notebook he had hidden under a stair tread.

A year later, Peter has returned to New York City and published a book called Dream House about his recent experiences. It was a best selling book and he continued on with his life.


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Psychosis

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

People can develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when they have been the victim of, or witness to, a traumatic event or a series of traumatic events – a serious accident, a natural disaster, a rape or other violent crime, combat, torture, a terrorist attack, physical or sexual abuse in childhood, domestic violence.

One of the main symptoms of PTSD is re-experiencing the trauma. People get vivid ‘flashbacks’ that can include seeing, smelling, hearing and feeling things that were part of the trauma. These intrusive memories feel real, as if they are happening now: if someone felt they were going to die at the time, they feel as if they are going to die every time they have a flashback memory. People can also experience vivid and terrifying nightmares in which they re-experience the trauma. They often thrash around in their sleep or cry out, and wake up feeling disorientated.

People with PTSD may feel constantly threatened and permanently damaged. They may blame themselves for what happened, or think they didn’t do the right thing at the time, feel shame because they didn’t resist an attack, or guilt because they didn’t stop what happened. They may find it hard to sustain relationships and withdraw from other people.

Another symptom is ‘avoidance.’ People with PTSD often avoid talking or thinking about the trauma they have experienced, and may also avoid people, places or activities that might remind them of the event. Some people become hyper-vigilant, constantly looking out for danger or threats, and may be more jumpy than usual.
Research has shown that torture and rape are the traumatic events most likely to lead to PTSD as both involve another human being inflicting deliberate harm and humiliation. PTSD is also more likely to develop if someone believes their life is threatened.

People who have had many traumatic experiences over a long period of time – as in torture, domestic violence, or sexual, physical or emotional abuse in childhood – are more likely to have complex difficulties. Research has demonstrated the more traumatic events a person experiences, the more likely they are to have PTSD.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Psychosis

People with psychosis are more likely to have post traumatic stress disorder than people who have no experience of psychosis. Some studies have shown that around half the people who participated in the research had PTSD in addition to psychosis.

Researchers believe that trauma may play a part in the development of psychosis. However, they also think some people may develop PTSD as a result of psychosis. The hallucinations and delusions that are symptoms of psychosis can be terrifying, and lead people to feel intensely frightened, horrified and helpless. People with psychosis who experience distressing persecutory delusions – when they believe others are trying to harm them in some way – may believe their life is threatened.

Some researchers have also suggested that admission to a psychiatric hospital, particularly if it is a compulsory admission, may, for some people, be a traumatic experience that could contribute to the development of PTSD.

Researchers think traumatic experiences might contribute to the development of psychosis (regardless of whether people also develop PTSD), and particularly if people experience many traumatic events over a long period of time, or at a young age.

Some studies have shown 70 to 90 per cent of people with psychosis have experienced at least one traumatic event in their life. Many research projects have examined links between abuse and trauma in childhood and the later development of schizophrenia. Researchers think the more traumatic events a person experiences, the more likely they are to develop a serious mental illness, particularly if the events occurred in childhood.Other studies of people with psychosis who have experienced trauma have shown that about half have hallucinations that relate to the trauma they have previously experienced.

Some researchers think that the vivid flashbacks experienced by people with PTSD can go on to develop into the hallucinations associated with psychosis. People may develop delusional beliefs and begin to experience paranoia, particularly if they have been tortured or attacked, because they are constantly reliving the event as a result of the intrusive memories of PTSD. Because the flashbacks are so realistic, so threatening and difficult to explain, people search for a meaning to understand what they are. They may come to believe that someone really is talking to them from the dead, or that they are really being followed, for example.

Mental health professionals and researchers are currently discussing whether there is a distinct type of psychosis that is trauma-induced in this way. Some are suggesting there should be a separate diagnosis of ‘post traumatic stress disorder with secondary psychotic features’ which would describe people who have PTSD and then go on to develop some of the symptoms of psychosis.

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