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Awesome: 11.92%
Worth A Look: 9.93%
Just Average: 29.8%
Pretty Crappy: 16.56%

12 reviews, 79 user ratings

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Amityville Horror, The (2005)
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by Erik Childress

"28 Days Later...Lutz Was Nutz"
3 stars

I’m so glad I was born in 1975. 1974 seemed to be a pretty bad year as far as real-life tragedies occurred. There was the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Gerald Ford’s swearing-in speech and Abba’s second album, confirming they were here to stay. Also, according to the book and the movie which came before it, a horrific series of events which befell a spooky-looking house. No one I’ve ever met who has read Jay Anson’s original account of the story will ever fail to admit how it was a page-turner which kept them up nights and scared the brown stuff out of them. Once you learn the subject matter, as I did years later, The Shining and The Amityville Horror are not the kind of books you want to see your dad reading. The latter has maintained its cache over the years more to familiarity than admiration. Countless ripoffs later, the cautionary tale of history reliving its past sins has not learned any new tricks. But, even if it works a little, it’s a vast improvement over the cinematic tragedies we’ve had to endure so far in 2005.

The Lutz family has been going through a few changes. The father has died and Kathy (Melissa George) has remarried George (Ryan Reynolds), who is finding it difficult to bond with the three children, despite doing his best. There’s no discernable reason for them to be seeking out a new residence, but on the hunt they come across a real bargain; a house with windows for eyes. She loves it. He’s more money-cautious since neither of them ever appears to work an actual job. They all but commit to it before bothering to ask the realtor about the metaphorical catch. Oh yeah, a family was murdered there a year earlier by the son who said voices told him to do it. Sign here.

Eh. What’s a few bodies? They’ve been moved out. The blood rinsed away. Plus, there’s a boathouse for George’s speedboat. And little Jimmy Bennett, who plays the youngest Lutz, has already been in the past year an abused child in Asia Argento’s The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things and a kid forced to do John McClane’s work in Hostage. What’s a few more therapy sessions for the young actor?

Distant voices still live beyond Jimmy’s resume, however, as the Lutz daughter begins having a Dakota Fanning moment and finds herself talking to a new friend named Jody. George has a constant chill in the house and horrid nightmares that wake him up at 3:15 in the morning, the exact time when the murders occurred. George becomes increasingly distant towards the family and after a few weeks, mom finally starts wondering if its time to move out.

This version clocks in a full half-hour shorter than the 1979 film and thus tries to get the audience on board early with the loud shock moments that more often keep them from trusting the filmmakers than embracing a second cheap jump from their seats. Director Andrew Douglas does himself a disservice by trying too hard to secure individual moments of fright rather than concentrating on the greater overall sense of dread. Take a drink every time we cut to that ominous-looking front of the house. Sped-up photography, bathtub clichés and the John Carpenter staple of shadows running in front of the camera keep us at bay while Ryan Reynolds does his damndest to sell his slide into discontented aggravation.

Part confused Jack Nicholson and part Terry O’Quinn’s Stepfather, Reynolds’ performance is quite entertaining. With minimal dialogue rooted in the most inappropriate statements at the worst times, Reynolds’ appearance deteriorates (if not his abs or James Brolin’s beard) and his antics work in a darkly humorous context. Daddy says to hold that log while he chops it with an axe. Douglas also shows some chops with a roof sequence which is more action-oriented than horror-laced, but is suspenseful in a way that a thousand creepy little dead girls will never be again.

A bit more of this and perhaps the remake could have evolved into something worth remembering by, at least, credits end. But when we hear about another Indian burial ground and mom uttering “he tortured Indians…on my land” like an Irish Frontierswoman from the 1800s, its time to wrap things up as quickly as possible. Which Douglas does, racing through a exposition-laden third act to get to the finale, which goes back to where things worked, the roof, but ends with one phenomenally awful cheat that first popped my eyes out and then had my nostrils flaring. True story be damned. Follow through with it or leave it out.

A few centuries from now when we’re all long gone, there will be another family looking to buy a new house. They will settle in, likely watching some movies which have stood the test of time. Like Frailty, which found a creepily effective way of dealing with a dementia that recognized human beings as demons. Or May whose desire to be loved relapsed into killing those who couldn’t return hers. They won’t remember Hide and Seek and The Ring 2 or any of the Amityville sequels or remakes. Probably because they will be dealing with the ancient Indian casino their house is built on top of and the wrath of Chief Ho-Chunk. But mostly because the films just aren’t very good.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11925&reviewer=198
originally posted: 04/15/05 00:08:10
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User Comments

2/20/17 morris campbell it sux read the book instead 1 stars
9/03/15 David Hollingsworth The only thing that is watchable is Ryan Reynolds' abs. 1 stars
12/10/12 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
6/20/10 Sarah Webster Hey art, the original is a classic. This remake is shit.u make yourself look like a moron! 1 stars
3/13/10 art TO TELL YOU the TRUTH,i never saw the first one,i read the NOVEL,this one is the BEST! 4 stars
7/30/09 art MUCH BETTER THAN THE 1979 ORIGINAL! 4 stars
9/11/07 TreeTiger Not that bad, actually... 4 stars
4/18/07 Stevo UK The only thing scary about this film is that another might be on the way. 2 stars
11/18/06 khrystal very scary! i kept seeing that little girl hanging at the foot of my bed for weeks!!! 5 stars
11/13/06 Mark pass 2 stars
11/04/06 mp good visual effects , good acting, and steady supsense, that is all folks. 3 stars
9/22/06 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
6/15/06 Michele good remake clever additions 4 stars
3/18/06 CJ Intensity throughout it all 5 stars
3/15/06 Anthony Feor A pitiful remake 1 stars
2/16/06 Alice Nope 1 stars
2/02/06 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
12/01/05 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
11/22/05 Melissa Ryan Reynolds looked hot (and crazy) -- not bad but not scary enough either. 4 stars
11/21/05 Kurtis J. Beard Wow - beyond horrible. All time low for horror. 1 stars
11/19/05 Bestit People who are scared of this are scared of their own farts, as well. 1 stars
11/13/05 Indrid Cold Of course it looks great, but ultimately just a compilation of cliches. 2 stars
11/02/05 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
10/16/05 tony scary and sometimes boring. Parts were slow,and dull. 2 stars
10/14/05 Adam The original was at least passable than this second rate crapfest 1 stars
10/11/05 ad ok 3 stars
10/09/05 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
10/07/05 othree Great casting, suck storyline, suck version, suck efx 1 stars
10/05/05 j.b 2.5 1 stars
9/26/05 Amber I love this movie it wa the only movie that I've ever been to where people screamed 5 stars
9/08/05 John Surprise: A remake that's better than the original 4 stars
9/02/05 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
5/21/05 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
5/16/05 Shawn Borucki Forgettable movie. Somes scenes feel like they were mimicing Kingdom Hospital and Ju-On. 3 stars
5/09/05 Carol ok 3 stars
5/01/05 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
4/26/05 Aaron Pilkington Scary as hell!!! 5 stars
4/26/05 John very effective and at times really scary- well done 4 stars
4/25/05 Sheree Burns I thought this was the best "remake" film yet.... 5 stars
4/25/05 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
4/20/05 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
4/19/05 J MAN scary 5 stars
4/18/05 Maril Smith Excellent Instant Classic! The first film to really scare me and my friends since The Ring! 5 stars
4/18/05 Me A great film 5 stars
4/18/05 Mix Master Mason Should have gone direct to video. Has that annoying Marilyn Manson video look. Blah!!!!!!!! 2 stars
4/18/05 Michael Lee I thought it was, what it was... a good scary movie. 4 stars
4/18/05 Al Guy Lame. The Shining done poorly. 2 stars
4/18/05 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
4/17/05 Ahnold Not as good as original, but not as bad as everyone writes 3 stars
4/17/05 Christy Weller It's an ok movie, Not one I would Highly reccomend 3 stars
4/16/05 Sharon Davis No worse than the other horror movies out there 2 stars
4/16/05 J MAN Nice surprise, good thrills. Scary how it's a true story.... 5 stars
4/16/05 rory i couldn't sleep after this one. Scarier then the original.... 5 stars
4/16/05 Junior LaROche Liked the original, don't like the current string of Holylwood remakes!!!! 2 stars
4/15/05 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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