"The Amityville Horror" DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

10/03/2010 Posted by Admin

"The Amityville Horror" (2005)

DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

Directed by Andrew Douglas, written by Scott Kosar, 89 minutes, rated R.

By Christopher Smith

Ironically, not even flies are attracted to it.

The 2005 version of “The Amityville Horror” movie mirrors 1979's “Amityville Horror” movie in that it opens with news that the story is “based on true events.”  But in Hollywood, what constitutes the truth?

As far as this story is concerned, the truth is ripped from some familiar headlines. In Long Island in 1974, there was indeed a family, the DeFeos, who was murdered by their eldest son, Ronald Jr., in their Dutch Colonial with the good wood work and the nice medallions.

A year after the murders, there also was a family, the Lutzes, who bought the house at a bargain price only to flee from it 28 days later. Was the woodwork too much for them to polish? Were the medallions too far out of reach to dust? Not quite. Apparently--and here is where things get sketchy--ghosts were underfoot. The Lutzes, sufficiently freaked out, fled the house, leaving behind their possessions and traces of their sanity.

Since too many people are told at some point in their lives that they have at least one good story in them, the Lutzes decided that this was theirs to tell in print.

With Jay Anson, they collaborated on a best-selling book that came out when the culture was still high on hallucinogens, still entranced by the Mansons, and frightened by such horror movie hits as “The Exorcist” and “The Omen.”

Possession was a pop culture darling in the '70s--you could announce at a cocktail party that you were the anti-Christ and people would consume you in earnest banter--so you have to wonder whether the Lutzes' tale of real-estate possession was for real or whether it was stretched thin for commercial reasons.

As directed by Andrew Douglas from Scott Kosar's script, “The Amityville Horror” proves precisely what the original movie proved--it doesn't matter whether the Lutzes story was true because truth in Hollywood doesn't matter. What matters are the numbers and “The Amityville Horror,” with its sexy cast, familiar story and cheap thrills, had all of the numbers it needed to become tops at the weekend box office when it opened in 2005.

So, how is the film? Nothing special. It's exactly what you expect from a modern-day horror movie--an assorted bag of assembled cliches, this one with bits of “The Shining,” “In Cold Blood,” “The Exorcist,” “Misery” and any number of those “Ring” movies tossed in to give it box office curb appeal.

As George Lutz, Ryan Reynolds looks good swinging an ax as he turns on his family--but he's no Jack Nicholson or, for that matter, even James Brolin. As Kathy Lutz, Melissa George shrieks on cue, but in her, you sense more motherly worry than outright terror, which is what the film needs. And as for the demonic flies that made such a chilly addition to the original film? They make a brief, thrill-ride appearance here and then they are gone--not unlike this movie was three weeks after its initial release.

Grade: C-

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