Amityville Horror 2005 (2005)
Directed by Andrew Douglas

Starring Chloe Moretz Jimmy Bennett Melissa George Michael Lutz Ryan Reynolds

Carrying on the resurgence of remake horror that hit the big-time with the "Dawn of the Dead" redo, the producers of the "Texas Chainsaw" remake (mainly Michael Bay and friends) redid the original "Amityville" for both MGM and Dimension Films.

MGM released the original movie, and Dimension had sequel rights, and had been cranking out direct-to-video films with the Amityville monicker for years and years. They joined forces to make this, and the results are outstanding.

2005's "Amityville" is way better than the first film, and it isn't just because special effects have come along way since then.

Reynolds, fresh off his role as a funny vampire hunter in "Blade Trinity," is convincing as George Lutz, the stepfather who goes nuts after he and his family move into the Amityville horror, scene of a multiple homicide a few years earlier. Unlike Brolin, who played the role 25 years ago, Reynolds is incredibly likeable, and remains so even as his character distintegrates into an abusive, alcoholic-type with a penchant for firearms. He holds the film.

The original "Amityville" was a pretty slow affair. With no real body count (other than the mass killings that take place early in the story), it's a tough horror tale to put on screen, and it showed when the first film came out to cash in on the then-massive bestselling book of the same name. It was like a bad Stephen King movie. Not as good as the book. For the sequel, they greatly upped the sleaze factor and actually made a more entertaining movie.

The remake makes up for the slack, simply by showing us the ghosts that were invisible in the original -- mostly a little girl who was murdered a few years earlier and likes having fingers put into the hole in her decomposing head. The sudden appearance of ghosts that most of the characters can't see at times makes "Amityville 2005" feel a little like the "Thirteen Ghosts" remake, which clearly influenced it. But this isn't a camp affair like that film. It does get under your skin and scare you.

What probably really makes the remake better is that it celebrates the original story's mid-1970s setting. Like the "Texas" remake, this one plays up the seventies references. There are Kiss posters, extreme '70s fashion and the first film appearance in decades of the memorable electric board game "Operation."

There is something freaky about the 1970s. Perhaps it's the lack of cell phones. Perhaps it's the memory of the Manson trial. But something's scary about that decade. "Amityville" exploits it, and exploits it well.

There are some "Blair Witch"-style documentary moments at the beginning of the film, which is fitting since "Amityville" is supposedly a true story

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

USER COMMENTS

Posted by Bryan on May 15, 2008
MUCH better than the original Amityville Horror.


Posted by radgamer13 on November 23, 2009
this was a gret remake. brilliantly played great cast


Posted by waxdude on February 2, 2010
Are you serious with this? Remakes these days SUCK- no originality whatsoever. None of us seem to have any attention spans left- if a movie was made before 1990 then it's considered "slow and boring". The original requires you to use something that's sorely missing these days from movies- it's called IMAGINATION. They are butchering classics left and right- and I call it a travesty. "Dawn of the Dead" is the ONLY remake I've enjoyed- the rest blow. And don't even get me started on Rob Zombie!


Posted by Conor on September 13, 2010
Didn't like the original. Incredibly overhyped. This remake definitely did the story justice. Vastly superior to what they released back in '79. And this is coming from someone who's not particularly well-disposed towards remakes.


Posted by Flipsider on July 17, 2011
I don't understand why people like this movie... I think it has something to do with low expectations. The series has always sucked, and no one thought that Ryan Reynolds could actually act. Well, even if this movie is marginally better than the original, it's still an uncreative, derivative chore to sit through.


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