The Amityville Horror (2005) Review

Discussion in 'Movies' started by ScottR, Apr 15, 2005.

  1. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    This remake of the 1979 horror film is a disaster on almost every level. From the moment that the infamous house appears onscreen, it is evident that the viewer is being taken on a contrived, warped rollercoaster ride. Everything about the film, from its absurd plot devices to its pacing have the mark of trashy exploitation.
    The film is based on the true story of the 1974 Long Island DeFeo muders, in which a young man kills his entire family, then blames his actions on demonic forces inside the house. One year later, a newlywed couple purchases their dream home, in the hopes of raising their family in an upscale neighborhood. Their dream soon becomes a nightmare as strange happenings start to occur, from bleeding walls to upturned crucifixes. The Lutz family flees from the home after only 28 days, leaving all of their belongings inside the house.
    Enter 1979, and the release of The Amityville Horror starring Margot Kidder (fresh off of her Superman success) and James Brolin (future Mr. Streisand.) The film was made on a modest budget and went on to gross some $85 million at the Box Office. However, as the years went by, the Lutz story was pretty much debunked as a hoax, in an effort for the family to cash in on the DeFeo tragedy. This turn of events tarnished the reputation of the 1979 film, as well.
    The remake is pointless, as most horror remakes are. What the filmmakers fail to realize is that less is more, in terms of ghost stories. "The Others", "The Haunting", and "The Sixth Sense" were successful in that the majority of scares occured in the imaginations of the audience. In the 2005 Amityville, all traces of imagination are not left to the viewer, as blood spattered kids and dogs are exposed in all of their hideous gory.
    Ryan Reynolds is okay as George Lutz, but never really rising above the material. The rest of the cast plods along, it seems, waiting for the shoot to be over so they can cash their checks. Thankfully, none of the performances are as over the top as Rod Steiger's in the original (which gave new meaning to the word "ham.")
    The original contained one of the creepiest scores ever for a horror film (it having been taken from unused music intended for 1973's The Exorcist.) The score was not repeated for this version (although you can hear it in the television trailers.)
    The 1979 film did have an effectively scary look, due to great work on the part of the Art Director. The house in that film looked lived in and totally believeable. In this version, it appears as more a towering (some four stories), warped church. Its structure is complex and oddly shaped, giving the viewer the impression that its construction was a hack job.
    In this era of endless sequels and remakes, the producers of The Amityville Horror should have picked a better subject to film. We've been to Amityville time and again......and like the Lutzes, have run away from it; not in terror, but from over exposure to one of the biggest shams in modern American superstition.

    Grade: D
     
  2. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    If that score is the sound of kids singing something like "la, la...". That still scares the crap out of me. Sad to hear the movie stinks. I saw the trailer in the theaters. And it freaked me out.
     
  3. todd stone

    todd stone Screenwriter

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    no original music ugg PASS! Movie was a disaster on all fronts. Like the poster above said, these actors you could tell were in it for just a paycheck

    [​IMG]
     
  4. LanieParker

    LanieParker Supporting Actor

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    I saw the making of it on E the other night...it looks as bad as the review says it is.
     
  5. ErnieGplus

    ErnieGplus Extra

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    I liked it.
     
  6. Mikel_Cooperman

    Mikel_Cooperman Producer

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    It wasnt very good. It's been years since I've read the books but it seemed to stray quite a bit from it. This ends with them leaving in a boat at the end. The movie, and I think the book, ended with them leaving in their car.
    Alot of false scares and flashy faces in the dark but nothing really that eerie or worthwhile.
    Theatre was almost empty too.
     
  7. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    I've heard what little that Lalo recorded for Friedkin's film and have searched the web but I can't find anything indicating that any part of Amityville's score was taken from his unused Exorcist score....where do you come by this info?
     
  8. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    The IMDb isn't completely reliable, but this was in the original film's Trivia section:

     
  9. Will K

    Will K Screenwriter

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    I was hoping this would be at least an entertaining, mindless horror flick but this movie is just awful. A number of directors these days come from the commercial or music video scenes and turn out to be rather good filmmakers, like David Fincher, for example.

    Andrew Douglas is no David Fincher. Let's put it this way: Amityville 3-D was scarier. The major defect here is Douglas apparently had no other concern than throwing anything randomly at the camera that might provoke a sudden jump or a boo. This movie is a catalog of derivative haunted house cliches that rips off everything from The Ring, The Sixth Sense, Poltergeist II to (unwittingly) National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation! This movie telegraphs any of its so-called scares and has nary an original idea or execution. Someone please keep Mr. Douglas away from feature films. I'm sure there's some car commercials that need his expertise.

    For most of the movie's short running time, I sat in disbelief. I expected some liberties with the story, but forget any suggestions this would have been a more accurate and faithful adaptation of the Lutz story. The movie can barely get the real DeFeo case straight, much less resemblance of locale and the real house. Even Oliver Stone would probably roll his eyes. This version is an outrageous and generally ridiculous misrepresentation of anything purported to be true in real life.

    If I must compare it to the original film, please give me the 1979 version any day of the week. Not exactly a great movie, but it has always given me chills with its eerie score and its more realism-grounded take on the events. "Jodie" was much more frightening having gone unseen. The new version even manages to fuck-up the creepy "Get Out!" scene. Sure, some may like it, but I prefer more subtle, suggested chills than being jack-hammered with CGI and quick-cut edits.
     
  10. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Andrew Douglas has directed ONE other movie...Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus (2003).
    Now that's a film, a documentary actually, I'd like to see.
     
  11. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    .
     
  12. Dave Hackman

    Dave Hackman Stunt Coordinator

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    What a horrible remake. It’s not like the first set the bar so high that it would take a miracle to exceed or match it. With today’s technology the bare minimum would have been an awesome soundtrack with good use of surrounds to enhance the atmosphere sort of like the one in the Haunting remake but unfortunately this didn’t happen. Instead you get an upbeat soundtrack that was totally out of place.

    This movie was a disaster from beginning to end with a house that they forgot to make scary to the horrible choices of model actors they picked to play the lead roles. You get a frailty type story, axe and all with quick flashes of dead people acting as if they were groomed to be hideously evil ghosts from birth. I knew it was just a matter of time before Reynolds took his shirt off and off it came over and over again. What a mess

    F
     
  13. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
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    I was sort of anxious to use the free ticket until I read the reviews. Part of me still says, "It's Free!" but the other part says it's 90 minutes of my life that I'll never get back.

    I guess I'll go to at least force MGM (or Sony, whatever) to pony up the money to the theater, even if I walk out on the movie.
     
  14. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

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    I hope you are not serious...it's got Paris Hilton in it for god's sake! (Also, according to the article in the current Fangoria magazine, it's not a remake.)
     
  15. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Paris Hilton huh? I didn't know that, that pretty much seals the films fate then. Although, if Paris was better suited to playing anything in a film, I would think playing a wax figure would be right up her alley. [​IMG]
     
  16. Joseph J.D

    Joseph J.D Cinematographer

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    Saw the trailer for it before Sin City.....looks like crap. I really don't understand hollywood....they will let talentless, rich 'celebrities' be in films while unknown actors with real talent are struggling.
     
  17. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    In the word's of Marv after picking up the hack saw and rubber ties and asked if he was updating his home security..."You bet your ass."[​IMG]
     
  18. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
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  19. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    One word film review: Terrible.
     
  20. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

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    Same here...

    I was hoping that it was gonna be like Drew Barrymore in Scream and she'd be dead by the opening credits...THAT I was pay to see!
     

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