Amityville Horror, The (2005)
Starring:
Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, Jimmy Bennett
Directed By:
Andrew Douglas
Grade
B

By and large, remakes tend to fail at recapturing the feel of the original movie. Even with new techniques for filming or special effects, most remakes, especially in the horror genre, tend to miss at grasping the storytelling element that makes the original films so endearing. Call it nostalgia, but remakes are inherently doomed to always stand in the shadow of their predecessor. With that said, The Amityville Horror remake does manage to do a good job at mimicking the original film while throwing in some new aspects to the story.

For those who don't know, The Amityville Horror is based on a series of real life events where the Defeo family was shot to death by the eldest son was driven by voices to kill his family. A year later, George and Kathy Lutz and her children from a previous marriage move into the house. Before a month is up, the family flees the house as the "voices" drive George (Reynolds) to kill his family.

The story set up and execution does not fall far from the original, giving those familiar with the original film and story a pretty standard retelling. To keep those who've seen the original way too many times interested, the film features more "pop up" scares with quick flashes of the tormented dead who inhabit the house. Also, there is a stronger focus on why the house is the way it is, long before the Defeo incident. While I am partially pleased that the film did try to add some new content, I felt that the execution revealed so much that there was little mystery left in the horror by the time the movie was over.

When it comes to production, the direction seems adequate, though not overly brilliant. Some portions of the film are framed well, while others feel like they'd be better suited in a music video. Special effects are handled well as they don't try to be overly obvious, which has been the downfall of other horror films. When it comes to acting, the cast gives us a good overall performance for the genre. The children actors are sufficient at their roles and Melissa George does good as the emotional mother. I have to say that I've always liked Reynolds, and in this role he does the part well. There aren't any Oscar winners here, but the performances carry the story well.

As an overall piece, the movie works well, but I have to say that some editing decisions would have benefited the film well. Certain scenes felt overly long and some sequences could have been cut just to make the horror feel less obvious. Also, the story portion involving the priest was trimmed down to almost nothing from the original, so much so that they might as well have not bothered with it.

In a year filled with mediocre horror offerings, The Amityville Horror manages to be entertaining and worth the price just for the instant gratification of mindless movie-going. You won't be left with too much too think about, but that isn't a bad thing.

- - Kinderfeld

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