Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, Jimmy Bennett
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.