THE AMITYVILLE HORROR
MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
After the success of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” remake, Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes latched onto another horror movie property from the 1970s, remaking “The Amityville Horror.” This incarnation of the film stars Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George as the hopeful Lutz family who have just moved into a house in Amityville. However, the house is haunted by spirits, which may have caused the son of the former owner to kill his whole family one night. Over the course of several weeks, the Lutzes face paranormal activity and emotional stress, which threatens their well-being and their very lives.
WHAT I LIKED
While I’m a fan of horror movies, and I have a special affinity towards 70s horror, I was never a fan of the original “The Amityville Horror.” Still, I can respect that movie for the impact it had on popular culture. So the general story and the atmosphere this movie generates is pretty solid.
The actors in this version do a fine job. Melissa George works well, but it’s Ryan Reynolds who carries the movie. He still is clinging to his comedic roots here, and that sometimes makes his line deliveries a little too humorous, but on the whole, he handles the dramatics well. Also, horror fans should get a kick out of seeing Chloe Moretz from “Kick-Ass” and “Let Me In” as the youngest of the Lutz children.
I appreciate what the filmmakers were trying with this film, even if they didn’t quite succeed.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
For as short of a film as “The Amityville Horror” is (clocking in at a lean 89 minutes), it is needlessly convoluted. What made the original work was what they didn’t show rather than what they showed. This played into the realism of the film and the ability to fool the audience into thinking it was a true story.
In this remake, they show too much. Taking a nod from “The Grudge,” the director puts the ghosts right there in the frame with obvious digital manipulation. This makes the movie just another cheesy horror movie rather than being something truly scary.
There’s a randomness about the story, mostly with the slow degrading of George Lutz’s personality. While Reynolds manages the subtleties of the acting well, we just seem to jump from scene to scene without any real flow.
Finally, there was too much backstory crammed into the film, which explains too much and leaves the mystery behind. The film all but says what exactly is haunting the Amityville house, and the moment it does that, the magic is gone.
The new Blu-ray includes only the feature film. It’s bundled with the DVD from its original 2005 release, including deleted scenes, a photo gallery, multi-angle on-set peeks, audio commentary with Reynolds and the producers, plus two featurettes: “Supernatural Homicide” about the original Defeo murders and “The Source of Evil” which is a basic making-of spot.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Horror buffs who don’t remember the original or just looooooove Ryan Reynolds.