Monday, October 24, 2005

The Amityville Horror (2005)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

And so ends the good-horror-movie streak...

Plotline: The Lutz family moves into a house that was recently the scene of a brutal murder. The house begins to drive George (the "father") mad and unleash havoc on the rest of the family.

Scariness factor: A quote from a review that jumped out at me when I was searching for a link to The Amityville Horror (2005) was so startlingly accurate that I can't help but reprint it here: "I've seen episodes of Sesame Street that were more frightening than this generic junk." Clearly the creators of this remake have NO conception of subtlety and how to skillfully use this to frighten their viewers. From the very start, absolutely nothing is left to our imagination and we are bludgeoned with lame scene after lame scene of horrific ghosts haunting the house. Most of these scenes really make little sense, which also detracts from the scariness of the movie: in one scene, the ghost of the little girl that haunts the house is pulled up into the ceiling by a few pairs of hands that are reaching out from it. Why? We have no clue, other than to look visually interesting. I was by no means in love with the original Amityville Horror--I haven't seen it in a while but always thought it kind of sluggish and not terribly scary--but I'd take its lowkey horror over this heavy-handed schlock any day.

Originality: Again, Scott Kosar (who remade The Texas Chain Saw Massacre as well) heavy-handedly rips off an old classic and craps it up to maximum power. Bah, I say.

Complaints: Oh, where to even start. My biggest complaint of course was the lack of subtlety. The ghosts were so abundant in this film (many of which are unexplained really--who are they exactly, other than gruesome faces intended to frighten us) that they became laughable very quickly. Ryan Reynolds is pretty, but he's also one of the WORST actors EVER. I suppose I should've known this though since I think he got his start on that crappy show Two Guys and a Pizza Shop. Why Kosar decided to try and give the movies a '70's feel is also beyond me. It's like watching teeny-boppers walk around in "vintage" clothing that they in actuality bought from The Gap. It doesn't even really GET the sense of how 1970's horror flicks FEEL, and this is coming from someone who's remade TWO of them! The CGI fx suck as per usual--I'll take thousands of flies unleashed in a room over a computer-animated version of the same situation any day. And finally, this movie's lack of logic is ASTOUNDING. I wish the Lutz family would've died just so it would've ended sooner.

Oh, and one more complaint that I forgot to mention when I wrote this review earlier: the movie takes ridiculous liberties with the book. The filmmaker both read the book and saw the original movie but decided to focus in on the murders that took place there rather than the house itself. And he took outlandish liberties with the details of the Amityville Horror story. So instead of feeling an impending sense of dread due to the creepiness of an inanimate object (a house), you are instead thrown into your typical Hollywood crapfest of a ghost movie. Take away the idea of the house as demonic force (similar to The Shining resort) and you've just got a regular old ghost-story. The filmmakers failed to take advantage of the fact that "It seemed that perhaps the demons that drove Butch to slaughter his family were not in his head but in the house" and failed to include any of the following creeptastic events in the movie (unless completely morphed into different circumstances): "An unseen force ripped doors from hinges and slammed cabinets closed, noxious green slime oozed from the ceilings, a biblical-scale swarm of insects attacked the family, and a demonic face with glowing red eyes peered into their house at night, leaving cloven-hoofed footprints in the morning snow. A priest called upon to bless the house was driven back with painful blisters on his hands, famously told by a demonic voice to "Get out!" And so on" (Snopes). Why remake a movie, why make a movie based on a true story for that matter, and do whatever the hell you want with it without even attempting to stay true to the facts? And if you DO do this, why not just name it something completely different?

High Points: The *only* thing that I found remotely interesting in the movie is that for once, the half-nekkid body of the female lead in the movie wasn't exploited. Instead we get an astounding number of gratuitous shots of Ryan Reynolds half-clothed. And he ain't too shabby to look at, so it was at least a TINY bit of light at the end of the tunnel.

Overall: Garbage. Crap. Shit in a pair of poop-stained underpants. This movie sucked and was a big fat waste of time. Avoid at all costs.

Grade: D-



At 1:27 PM, Anonymous movie scary said...

They never should have remade this.

At 1:27 PM, Anonymous corporate events said...

so true


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