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Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.92%
Worth A Look: 9.93%
Average: 29.8%
Pretty Bad: 16.56%
Total Crap31.79%

12 reviews, 79 user ratings

Amityville Horror, The (2005)
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by Collin Souter

"Quick and somewhat painless, like an axe to the forehead."
3 stars

This remake of “The Amityville Horror” has the right idea. Take a mediocre-to- awful movie that had potential and try to make it better. The original film worked on me like a straight shot of Nyquil. True, I was only eight or nine when I first saw it and it also didn’t help that I first saw “Amityville II: The Possession,” my introduction to the Amityville franchise. Let me underscore that by saying “Amityville II” scared the holy crap out of me when I was a kid. I hadn’t yet hit that age where I could handle scenes of incest and a guy blowing away his whole family with a shotgun. It kept me awake for days. The original “Amityville Horror,” with its stiff performances and sticky stairways, didn’t stand a chance of scaring me the way its prequel did. This remake, however, gives it a good try.

Due to my sketchy memory, I’ll have to skip over comparing this remake to its original. This film opens with a prologue about how a nuclear family—the Defeos—fell victim to a mass murder by the seemingly possessed father with a shotgun. Since then, the house has not been inhabited and the town has, according the real estate agent, “moved on.” In come the Lutz family, headed by stepdad George (Ryan Reynolds), and Kathy (Melissa George).

The Lutz family is an almost ideal family, save for the oldest son Billy (Jesse James) being reluctant to accept George as his new father figure. George tries to be supportive and understands Billy’s problem with the drastic change. The two younger kids—Michael (Jimmy Bennett) and Chelsea (Chloe Moretz)—seem okay with it, if not a little confused. It’s a family in transition and the new house only adds to the problems.

Before, George was nice and understanding. Now, he tends to throw a lot of chores at Billy, such has hauling logs across the backyard. Before, he was nice to mommy. Now, he yells at her for trying to maintain peace in the family unit every time George has a hissy fit. “I’ll do the disciplining around here, thank you very much,” he snaps. Before, he would let the kids play with the refrigerator magnets. Now, he’s prone to spelling out his own murderous deeds for his wife to see. Yup, he’s possessed alright.

Nothing helps, either. Not the town priest (Phillip Baker Hall), nor the doctor who prescribes poor George a psychiatrist. Of course, George will have none of that. “This is the American dream and I’m not going to let anyone get in the way of it,” he commands. Right about now, the audience wonders why Kathy doesn’t pack up the kids, throw them in the truck and haul ass out of town. Because, she loves him, that’s why. Never mind that since they moved in, knowing full well of the house’s past, things have gone horribly wrong and everyone who enters it has come seriously close to death.

What’s most surprising is how much of the movie actually works. Never mind the fact that it’s another stupid remake. To me, it may as well be just another haunted house movie that owes too much to “The Shining.” Taken on its own, for the most part, the movie has many well-crafted set pieces and I managed to stay awake. On the other hand, it also falls victim to many of today’s most over-used and tiresome horror clichés, including the creepy ghost child suddenly appearing in the background, sped-up horror sequences accompanied by backward sound loops and the over-use of foreboding music every time someone makes a plot revelation.

On the other hand, it also carries an R rating and therefore has an edge that most horror movies today don’t have. It doesn’t always cut away from all the blood, nor does it try to make the audience more comfortable by having George go from nice guy to mean guy and back again. Once George loses his marbles, we wait a long time to see if he gets them back. Ryan Reynolds does a decent job of going nutzo without going too far over the top and entering the realm of community theater reject.

So, is “The Amityville Horror” actually worth seeing? Almost. I guess it depends on what scale you use. Put against something like The Others or the remake of Dawn of the Dead, it’s not very good. Put against all the other horror movies of the past few months—Darkness, Boogeyman, Cursed, The Ring Two, Hide and Seek—it’s somewhat refreshing. I can honestly say I did not have a bad time sitting through this film and I could see the filmmakers actually making an effort to make a good film. It may not entirely succeed, but it takes steps in the right direction for a film that has the right idea. Almost.

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originally posted: 04/18/05 14:07:19
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User Comments

2/21/17 morris campbell it sux read the book instead 1 stars
9/04/15 David Hollingsworth The only thing that is watchable is Ryan Reynolds' abs. 1 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 can’t 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
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  15-Apr-2005 (R)
  DVD: 04-Oct-2005



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