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Overall Rating
2.57

Awesome: 12%
Worth A Look: 10.67%
Average: 30%
Pretty Bad: 16.67%
Total Crap30.67%

12 reviews, 78 user ratings


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Amityville Horror, The (2005)
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by Scott Weinberg

"Forget a HOUSE; there's not even enough here to fill a ROOM."
2 stars

Y'know, it probably wouldn't take a whole heck of a lot to create a remake that's BETTER than 1979's "The Amityville Horror." Sure it's got some cheesy old late-70s charm (and the seriously adorable Margot Kidder), but its not like the original "Amityville" has earned the status of an "Exorcist" or a "Texas Chainsaw Massacre." Heck, it's not even on par with "Poltergeist." So when I learned that Michael Bay would be bankrolling an all-new "Amityville," I (fueled by my enthusiasm for Bay's "Chainsaw" remake) believed that the filmmakers could actually improve upon this particular patch of real estate. I was mistaken.

First the good news: Ryan Reynolds has proven me dead wrong by growing into quite a strong actor. If you'd have told me a few years ago that I'd soon be singing the praises of Mr. Van Wilder, I'd have thought you insane. But after seeing Reynolds add a whole lot of color, humor and intensity to Blade: Trinity and enjoying his (quick) descent into Amityville madness, I now consider myself a big fan. Good job, Reynolds.

I mention all that because Reynolds is clearly and overtly the best thing in The Amityville Horror - partially because he gives a better performance that the film really deserves - but mainly because there's just nothing else on the menu. Pull aside Reynolds, Melissa George (as his wife), and the three kids, and this movie has maybe three characters. And those three characters have maybe 15 lines to split between them. First-time (and it shows) director Andrew Douglas can not even remotely be bothered with something resembling a subplot or a meaty dose of character development; his remake staunchly avoids all the things that make a horror movie scary in favor of all the things that make a horror movie obvious and expedient. We can't spend an important 15 minutes with the main characters because we have to hurry our way towards the creepy lightning storms, the shocking strains of loud music, and (of course) the frequently appearing little dead girls with stringy hair.

I know it's an obvious lesson, but here it is (again): set the stage with something sincere, a few characters based (just a little) in reality, let them develop just a bit so we get to "know" them ... and then once you start throwing monsters at 'em, we'll actually give a damn. Call it sloppiness or downright laziness, but there's no good reason that Reynolds' George Lutz should go from smoothly likable to instantly bug-eyed over the course of 1.6 screen minutes.

For all nine of you who've never heard the "Amityville" tale, here's a short version that contains all the cogent points: there's this house where people got killed. Now some new people move in. Bumps in the proverbial night ensue. Screenwriter Scott Kosar (after delivering some great work with The Machinist and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) seems entirely stuck on auto-pilot here. And he's certainly not helped by a chop-socky editorial style: characters switch moods instantaneously, plot points dangle and eventually drop out of sight, and there's no semblance of sustained tension or gradual build-up of general creepiness.

That The Amityville Horror runs a scant 89 minutes means we don't have a whole lot of time to get to know anyone (particularly George), so when things start to fall apart, there's no sense of urgency, tragedy, or intensity. It's all just rainy hallways, cheap jolts, and sloppy editing techniques. It's plainly evident to me that debut director Andrew Douglas has his sights set on the action genre; the two most noteworthy sequences in The Amityville Horror are cut and scored like a solid action director would do it. Unfortunately there's a huge difference between how you pace an action sequence vs. a scene of intended terror.

There's nothing scary at all about this movie. It's entirely formulaic down to the smallest detail. You know precisely when the hands are going to shoot out of the bathtub, exactly when the creepy dead kid will be stuck to the ceiling, etc., etc. And then it's all wrapped up with a half-hearted "whatever" of an ending ... and everyone goes home hungry for some real horror.

Most people expected very little from this remake, so my assertion that the movie kinda stinks will not surprise them one whit. I, on the other hand, had some really high hopes for this one, as if it could follow in the footsteps of the "Dawn of the Dead" and "Chainsaw" remakes. Alas, no. I say 'Good Job' to Reynolds and 'Better Luck Next Time' to Douglas, but as a true-blue horror geek, I must call it like a see it: this new "Amityville" is almost as good as the original one ... which is not exactly a compliment.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11925&reviewer=128
originally posted: 04/18/05 01:37:15
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Horror Remakes: For more in the Horror Remakes series, click here.

User Comments

7/30/14 jtblihznrn USA 4 stars
12/11/12 Jamie 'Art' fuck you, you cunt. This sucks. 1 stars
9/06/10 art this 2005 one ROCK"S!,and it take's one {A MORON} to know ONE! 4 stars
6/21/10 Sarah Webster Hey art, the original is a classic. This remake is shit.u make yourself look like a moron! 1 stars
3/14/10 art TO TELL YOU the TRUTH,i never saw the first one,i read the NOVEL,this one is the BEST! 4 stars
7/31/09 art MUCH BETTER THAN THE 1979 ORIGINAL! 4 stars
9/11/07 TreeTiger Not that bad, actually... 4 stars
4/19/07 Stevo UK The only thing scary about this film is that another might be on the way. 2 stars
11/19/06 khrystal very scary! i kept seeing that little girl hanging at the foot of my bed for weeks!!! 5 stars
11/14/06 Mark pass 2 stars
11/05/06 mp good visual effects , good acting, and steady supsense, that is all folks. 3 stars
9/23/06 David Pollastrini the house looks nothing like the real house 3 stars
8/22/06 Mr.X this movie blew big donkey dick!!!! 1 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist An abomination to the original, just another over the top crappy, horror popcorn flick. 1 stars
6/16/06 Michele good remake clever additions 4 stars
3/19/06 CJ Intensity throughout it all 5 stars
3/16/06 Anthony Feor A pitiful remake 1 stars
2/17/06 Alice Nope 1 stars
2/03/06 tatum Starts well, gets progressively sillier as it goes 2 stars
12/17/05 JeromeBosch Beefcake and babe canít save this diluted bouillon of a remake. 2 stars
12/14/05 me could have been better 3 stars
12/02/05 George just as bad as the original 1 stars
12/01/05 MrsVoorheesBabyBoy Better Than the Original 4 stars
11/24/05 cr a pump up remake and scary of course, but nothing to be jumping about 3 stars
11/24/05 cr a pump up remake and scary of course, but nothing to be jumping about 3 stars
11/23/05 Melissa Ryan Reynolds looked hot (and crazy) -- not bad but not scary enough either. 4 stars
11/22/05 Kurtis J. Beard Wow - beyond horrible. All time low for horror. 1 stars
11/20/05 Bestit People who are scared of this are scared of their own farts, as well. 1 stars
11/14/05 Indrid Cold Of course it looks great, but ultimately just a compilation of cliches. 2 stars
11/03/05 nikita m i thought it was a good movie it freaked the shit out of me and the guy is so hot its crta 5 stars
10/29/05 Horror buff I think it was actually a good remake, though not as scary as the orginal. 4 stars
10/25/05 chris fox (the god) a fair movie not very scary though 3 stars
10/20/05 PAG Mediocre. Better than original, but that is not saying much. 3 stars
10/17/05 tony scary and sometimes boring. Parts were slow,and dull. 2 stars
10/15/05 Adam The original was at least passable than this second rate crapfest 1 stars
10/12/05 ad ok 3 stars
10/10/05 ashley i liked it but i want to know more 4 stars
10/08/05 Monday Morning Points off for the dog getting killed, but OK otherwise. 4 stars
10/08/05 othree Great casting, suck storyline, suck version, suck efx 1 stars
10/05/05 j.b 2.5 1 stars
9/27/05 Amber I love this movie it wa the only movie that I've ever been to where people screamed 5 stars
9/09/05 John Surprise: A remake that's better than the original 4 stars
9/03/05 Jenny This is a scary movie Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George are great together 5 stars
8/07/05 Junior The most shocking thing about this motion picture is that it's all true! 5 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins Original was boring, predictable mess and this remake is only slightly better. 2 stars
7/07/05 YEAH U SEE ME?ITS ME!! hey its me again..ITS FUCKING FUNNY 5 stars
7/07/05 YEAH U SEE ME?ITS ME!! cool movie.very funny 5 stars
7/07/05 Jmz H scary movies ending always scary..sigh.. 5 stars
5/22/05 Charlene Javier I finally liked a Ryan Reynolds movie! 3 stars
5/19/05 wendy rogers The movie is ok...Not real scary but worth seeing. 4 stars
5/17/05 Shawn Borucki Forgettable movie. Somes scenes feel like they were mimicing Kingdom Hospital and Ju-On. 3 stars
5/10/05 Carol ok 3 stars
5/02/05 Valerie great movie, great plot, but the ending is really stupid. 4 stars
4/29/05 Mider when its a good movie and its a remake then that makes it a GREAT remake 5 stars
4/27/05 Aaron Pilkington Scary as hell!!! 5 stars
4/27/05 John very effective and at times really scary- well done 4 stars
4/26/05 Sheree Burns I thought this was the best "remake" film yet.... 5 stars
4/26/05 E-FUNK Collapses immediately and induces laughter when you should be shitting your pants. 2 stars
4/24/05 movie man It was a excelent movie 5 stars
4/21/05 Naka Gore an' shit. Whoo. Now, if only it was, you know, entertaining or at all scary... 1 stars
4/20/05 Krisan Graves Decent movie 3 stars
4/20/05 J MAN scary 5 stars
4/19/05 Maril Smith Excellent Instant Classic! The first film to really scare me and my friends since The Ring! 5 stars
4/19/05 Me A great film 5 stars
4/19/05 Mix Master Mason Should have gone direct to video. Has that annoying Marilyn Manson video look. Blah!!!!!!!! 2 stars
4/19/05 Michael Lee I thought it was, what it was... a good scary movie. 4 stars
4/19/05 Al Guy Lame. The Shining done poorly. 2 stars
4/19/05 Tom Rudderham A lazy and thoughtless remake. 1 stars
4/18/05 Renita Long not as good as the original 2 stars
4/18/05 Gray could have been better 3 stars
4/18/05 Ahnold Not as good as original, but not as bad as everyone writes 3 stars
4/18/05 Christy Weller It's an ok movie, Not one I would Highly reccomend 3 stars
4/17/05 Sharon Davis No worse than the other horror movies out there 2 stars
4/17/05 J MAN Nice surprise, good thrills. Scary how it's a true story.... 5 stars
4/17/05 rory i couldn't sleep after this one. Scarier then the original.... 5 stars
4/17/05 Junior LaROche Liked the original, don't like the current string of Holylwood remakes!!!! 2 stars
4/16/05 Naka Horror shit. 1 stars
4/15/05 shatonjia I hated it 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  15-Apr-2005 (R)
  DVD: 04-Oct-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  14-Apr-2005




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