Movie Review
The Amityville Horror
The Amityville Horror poster
By Scott Sycamore     Published April 29, 2005
US Release: April 15, 2005

Directed by: Andrew Douglas
Starring: Ryan Reynolds , Melissa George , Jim Bennett

Running Time: 86 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $64,664,000
This version of The Amityville Horror was quite a bit better than I expected.
This is another remake of mediocre 1970's entertainment. But this version of The Amityville Horror was quite a bit better than I expected; I was engaged and on edge for the most part. That alone put it a notch above The Ring Two and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in my book.

Grisly murders are committed in a Long Island house. One year later, things have settled down in the quiet community, and the house is ready to be sold to a non-murdered family. Enter George and Kathy Lutz (Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George) and their 3 children. They are a blue-collar clan looking for that life-changing step to higher realms of elegance. They jump in and buy the house despite being told of the murders, as they both agree that it's the deal of the decade. Strangely enough, by day one, things start going very wrong.

Check your brain at the coat rack for this one, as almost everything about this film is exceedingly stupid. A creepy death problem, let's move in! Seeing dead girls hanging from the ceiling while trying to bang your wife? Shake it off! Step-dad's trying to murder you and your siblings? Just wait around until he gets his mind back - there's no need to flee or do anything.

With all that said, I did actually enjoy the film for what it is. The jump-scare parts were as effective as they needed to be, despite following the classic formula (suspenseful silence broken by loud noise and scary ghosts appearing from out-of-frame). I have to admit I was sinking and squirming in my seat when these sequences were ready to load. And the ghost-monsters were actually frightening, unlike the ratty-headed Samarra of Ring Two or the zombies from Dawn of the Dead. There's also some decent atmosphere, especially in the basement, which is important to the gruesome history of the house. These elements elevate the film beyond its true status.

Ryan Reynolds was actually entertaining. I loved Van Wilder, and here he brings a pinch of the Wilder irreverence to his tortured character. He is funny and deadly, and you can see him striking fear into the hearts of his stepchildren. I can see why he was picked for this, and I think he has a versatile career ahead of him if he keeps it going (and doesn't go the way of James Brolin, who played this character originally). The rest of the acting is halfhearted at times, but no one embarrasses themselves (except for maybe the foxy babysitter).

Yes, it's a cheesy, classless piece of trash-cinema, but it's fun. I wouldn't call it a good movie by any stretch, but that's not always necessary to have a good time. I walked in the theater expecting a giant pile of manure; watching it I found I could deal with the vague stench.
Scott's Grade: B-
Scott's Overall Grading: 417 graded movies
Share, Bookmark
'The Amityville Horror' Articles