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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Aug 26: The Amityville Horror


Aug 26: The Amityville Horror

"A family is terrorized by demonic forces after moving into a home that was the site of a grisly mass-murder"
Directed by: Andrew Douglas, Rated: R, 90 minutes

Melissa George is a sexy woman. She's got curves and "attributes" that make her incredibly attractive. However, for some reason or another, she consistently plays characters where she's perpetually in distress, crying or screaming and losing sight of her children. While I can't go out on a limb and call her a great actress, it wouldn't hurt to see her smile once in awhile. With The Amityville Horror she continues this pattern to a rather annoying effect. It's a remake of a film that wasn't even too great to begin with (surprise!), and follows every horror cliche in the book. What makes it watchable is the performance of Ryan Reynolds (who I have continued to praise even through all his hate). As he completely loses control on his life and his family, it's creepy as hell to watch.

One of the twelve times Melissa George has actually smiled. 

George (Ryan Reynolds) and Kathy Lutz (Melissa George) find a beautiful home in Amityville, New York. It's huge, it's on the water, and it has everything they could ask for in a home to raise a family. They even manage to buy the home at a ridiculously low price, to much concern of George, who questions why something so great goes for so cheap. Soon after moving in, the Lutz family begin encountering strange things throughout the home. Magnets rearrange themselves on the refrigerator, George begins hearing voices, and blood seems to seep through the walls. Clearly something is wrong with the home and Kathy finds counsel in Father Callaway (Philip Baker Hall), who tells her that the home was the scene of a grizzly murder just over a year ago. Ronald DeFeo killed six family members one night after hearing voices telling him to do so. As George has become increasingly distant to the family, Kathy noticed he had taken refuge in the basement, where he too has said to hear voices. Fearing the worst, Kathy believes her kids are in danger around George and she must find a way for all of them to leave the home and save George from a quasi-possession before it's too late. While this story is incredibly familiar to most horror movie watchers, this really is where a lot of those cliche possession stories began. The Amityville Horror is based off of an actual murder that happened in 1974 and while the film tends to monetize off of the crime, the actual events are still ridiculously creepy. As for the film, it never really captures the fear of the real-life danger the house is said to hold, but it still has a handful of creepy moments that leave you a little unsettled. 

Wondering about the actual murders unfolding is creepy as f**k. 

The best part of the film is Ryan Reynolds' George. Witnessing him slowly lose grip on reality and spiral into a creepy state of rage is eerie to watch. I have always been a staunch supporter of Reynolds and enough though the film isn't terrific by any means, I feel his performance lifts it out of awful. It's also worth noting that The Amityville Horror is a rare kind of horror movie in that it's actually rated R. As opposed to the horror movies that come out lately, that are rated PG-13 to bring in a larger audience, this film embraces its R rated and in doing so, has much more blood scares than anything else. As George loses his sanity, he begins seeing visions of ritualistic murders that happened in the basement of the home, and each sequence is cut with a psychotic energy and flashes of blood. 

Yes, it suffers from the "little creepy girl" cliche... 

The Amityville Horror is worth a watch, in my opinion. If you really think about the story behind the actual event, the film tends to be much creepier than just a stand alone movie. Sure, there's not a lot going on throughout the film, and the ending is quite disappointing, but the idea behind it all makes the movie even more uncomfortable. The film is a remake of the 1979 film of the same name (which wasn't really great in its own right), and it's tough to argue which one is better. As fall approaches and a horror obsession sweeps in through your open window, The Amityville Horror would be a decent movie to watch as the autumn chill crawls up your spine. 

The Good:
Ryan Reynolds performance
The Bad:
a story that doesn't really have a lot going for it...
The Ugly:
...and wondering where it could have gone had it actually had the balls to do so

Overall: 6.3/10

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At August 26, 2012 at 7:13 PM , Blogger Richard Kirkham said...

I am much more inclined to give this a chance as a result of your comments. I generally try to stay away from these remakes although I did spend money seeing "The Thing" reboot and "Nightmare on Elm Street" (both of which should not exist). The fact that it is an R film, and that Ryan Reynolds is in in encourages me a good deal. Halloween is coming up, maybe for my site I'll do a scary movie remake festival.

My Comments on the original here:

At August 26, 2012 at 8:14 PM , Blogger Nick said...

I'd go into the movie aware that it's a remake, and aware that it's somewhat unnecessary... but I still think it has its moments worth watching. And like I said, Reynolds is great in it.


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