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DVD Review : The Amityville Horror (2005)

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After the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake that I thought delivered the goods, I was looking forward to getting to see The Amityville Horror remake. Boy was that an exercise in futility. And I suddenly lost interest in seeing The Fog remake. I don’t remember the original to well on account that I was never to impressed with it and haven’t bothered to see it again.

So this weekend I rented the packed DVD for my viewing displeasure. Ryan Reynolds and his post-Blade six-pack star in this debacle. The delivery is all wrong, the actors don’t mesh and Silent-Hilly dream sequences don’t fit with the story line. What works? As with all Michael Bay’s flicks, it’s the imagery.

Everyone knows the story about the Amityville Horror. Somebody from the DiFeo clan has a psychotic breakdown, kills his whole family and no one knows why. We find out later he thought they were demons and he was ordered to kill them by the voices in his head. Fast forward a year later and the Lutz family purchases the house and wouldn’t ya know it, things start getting wacky soon enough. The house makes Daddy Lutz act a little nutty by bringing out his inner-alpha out. Mommy Lutz is drowning in Denial River because she just wants the American dream home so much, she can’t even notice her daughter is talking to dead people. It all comes to an insane showdown complete with expert roof climbing and axe swinging mastery.

Suckology 101: In this class you will learn that there’s a recipe to cliché and that adding too much sugar can ruin the cake.

Let’s begin with Mommy and Daddy. Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George are both in their late 20s and they look it. So they are hardly convincing as parents of 3 kids with one of them being 12. George Lutz can sort of get away with it since they aren’t his kids. But Reynolds looks like a kid. A beard doesn’t make him look older at all. Then there’s the fact that this couple is down on its luck, yet they both look like they go to the gym 5 times a week. Reynolds looks like he’s below the 2% body-fat line. Melissa looks like all women who’ve given birth to 3 children only wish they could look like. Oddly enough, their eldest is tubby.

Then there’s the impossibly hot baby-sitter that was so cliché it makes me want to vomit. Rachel Nichols is one hot woman and it’s a damn shame her show The Inside got cancelled. I can’t wait to see what weight she pulls on Alias, but come on. No woman looking this hot would even be interested in babysitting little brats. They could have gotten a cute girl next-door type and Billy would have been just as horny and the scene(s) would have been much more believable. But no they go for the heroin-addict looking porn movie babysitter. Had I been Kathy Lutz, that babysitter wouldn’t have been allowed near my horny 12 year old or my horny husband.

And can we talk about the fact that no small-time contractor with a house-wife and 3 kids to feed could ever afford such a huge old house, no matter how many people got whacked in it to drive the price down.

Now let’s get to the horror. Cue the crickets please. Jodie is no longer a pig. She’s… wait for it… a dark-eyed veiny ghostly little girl. Like that hasn’t been overdone in the past few years. There are also a few quick strobe-like dream sequences. Some Silent Hill rip-offs like a dark figure on some sort of central podium in a very gothic looking room with fire and tortured people hanging from hooked chains. The scene with Jodie held to the ceiling by arms coming out of the wood could have been so freaky and yet it looks amateurish.

And I was wondering why the kid at the convenience store bagging my cheese curds and Dr. Pepper told me the movie was funny. The only thing missing from this movie was the shower scene. Yup, no hot chick suddenly decided she needed a shower. Oh and who knew that the underwater of lakes were so well lit? This was a surprise to me.

Like I mentioned earlier, when Michael Bay is involved you get unsurpassable image quality and richness. Anyone who’s into imaging, photography and even home theater enthusiasts, knows that black is what it’s all about. Because no matter how perfectly lit the image is, if the black output is rotten, it’s going to look bad. Michael Bay understands this. He doesn’t always understand good story-telling, but he gets the black. Every shot of this movie is gorgeous because of the perfectly balanced contrast and black toning. This amateur photographer just couldn’t get enough of the imagery.

But that’s all the movie has got going for it. The acting is average, the story is bleh! The characters are only mildly interesting. The soundtrack is unnoticeable. The DVD has mucho extras and a crap-load of previews. That’s about it. Extras do not a good movie make.

This puppy gets a horrible 1 outta 5.

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About David Desjardins

  • Melissa

    I rather enjoyed this movie. Maybe the thing isnt IDENTICAL to the original but…you know what….THATS WHY ITS A REMAKE!!!!!!! DUH.

    All these so called movie critics need to get off their high horses. You probably over analyze starwars & star trek movies too, “that wookie was not realistic by todays standards. There were 20 hairs out of place. Just not acceptable”.

    GET A LIFE. ITS JUST A MOVIE!!!!

  • http:.//ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Having read the book, and having come from that general area of the country, it gives me no comfort to realize that the events in the book were real, and not a stupid story like Friday the 13th.

    A movie could only trivialize what actually occurred in Amityville over a quarter century ago. I suspect that the original movie and the remake both did that.

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