Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Ryan Reynolds about to go bonkers

THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (2005).  Director: Andrew Douglas.

Probably because of the huge grosses of the 1979 The Amityville Horror, someone decided it would be a good idea to do a remake. Not necessarily. They're still saying that this is "based on a true story" even though only the terminally stupid would ever imagine any of the events had actually happened. The Lutzes (Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George) move into the house where [real-life] Ronald DeFeo murdered his family and are beset with ghosts, weird hallucinations, odd lights in the cellar, and George Lutz going slowly bonkers and finally taking an ax to the poor family dog, then going after his family as they desperately climb over a roof to get away from him. Admittedly, this version is better than the original, with more adroit direction and better acting, but it's also sometimes too slick for its own good. The house is bigger and there are some welcome touches of humor; the climax is fairly exciting even if it reminds one of The Shining more than anything that happened -- or probably didn't happen -- in Amityville. But when all is said and done, the book and the two film versions thereof are only exploiting a terrible tragedy in which even children died horribly. Taking dead children's ghosts and making them characters in a movie is beyond tacky. Enough is enough. The Rod Steiger character of the first film has been replaced by another priest who has very little to do. Reynolds played super-hero Green Lantern in a much better movie.

Verdict: Better than the original but that's not saying much. **.

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