Horror Movie Review: The Amityville Horror – Remake (2005)


‘The Amityville Horror’ is a 2005 a remake of the 1979 film of the same name which itself was based on the novel of the same name by Jay Anson. The novel documents the alleged experiences of the Lutz family after they moved into a house on Long Island which had been the scene of a mass murder committed by Ronald DeFeo, Jr. who had murdered six members of his family there in 1974.

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This review will be from the prospective of someone who has never seen the original but understands that one of the reasons many people disliked this remake was because they considered the original to be far superior.

In 1974, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. murdered his family at their house in Amityville, New York. He claimed that he was persuaded to kill them by voices he heard in the house. Married couple George (Ryan Reynolds) and Kathy Lutz (Melissa George) move into the house along with the latter’s three children from a previous marriage, Billy, Michael and Chelsea. It doesn’t take too long before paranormal events begin to take place in the house as Chelsea (Chloë Grace Moretz) claims that she befriended a girl named Jodie, a name possessed by one of the murdered DeFeo children.

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One day the couple decide to go out and spend some time together, and they hire a babysitter to baby sit the 3 kids, when the babysitter, Lisa (Rachel Nichols), arrives they come to know that she had been there before to babysit the DeFeos.
She tells Billy about the murders that took place in their very house. When she goes to Chelsea’s room and Chelsea tells her that she is a bad babysitter, and she says Jodie told her so, the babysitter begins to criticize Jodie for the reason behind her being fired from babysitting. She is dared by Billy to go to the closet (the same closet where Jodie was). Inside the closet, she gets locked and is not able to come out. After a few seconds she has an encounter with Jodie herself. Then she goes into a shock and the paramedics come and take her.

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On the way to the hospital, Lisa says to Kathy that she had seen Jodie, who was supposed to be dead. Kathy asks priest Father Callaway (Philip Baker Hall) to bless the house, regarding this as a protective measure which will prevent any future paranormal incidents, but Father Callaway flees the house when he encounters such occurrences himself in the process. He later informs Kathy that the teddy bear Chelsea has belonged to Jodie DeFeo and was buried with her.

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I found the scene in which Father Callaway flees to be quite amusing because not a whole lot happens to actually make him react the way he does and he literally drives away while Kathy begs for an explanation. It just shows how much he cares about the safety of the family, he might as well have put his middle finger up as he backed out of the drive way.

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However, one of my biggest annoyances in the movie is the character Kathy; the reason for this is because of how in denial she is about what is happening. It gets so ridiculous that it becomes impossible to suspend disbelief that anyone would be so stupid in the situations she finds herself in. You would think that after what had happened with the babysitter and after the priest had stormed out of the house and driven away and after she finds out that her daughter had a dead girls bear and after all of the other weird things that have been happening that just maybe she would leave. There is one scene in which Chelsea tells Kathy outright that she can see Jodie and that she is real, I know she’s a child and children do make up stories but after everything that’s happened you can bet your ass that I would believe my daughter and get the heck outta there.

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One of the more interesting aspects of the movie comes from George’s slow descent into madness as he has numerous, satanic visions as well as hearing voices commanding him to kill his family and it’s interesting to see the transformation.

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Kathy discovers that the building once belonged to a cult preacher and becomes convinced that George’s abusive behaviour is owed to a possession of him by the preacher’s spirit. It’s only now that Kathy thinks there may be something quite not right with the house and after being instructed to do so (she probably wouldn’t have otherwise) she attempts to inform George that she thinks it might be a good idea if they left the house.

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Unfortunately for her though, George has completed his transformation from happy, loving Ryan Reynolds to crazy, axe wielding Ryan Reynolds. George attempts to murder the family but is eventually subdued by Kathy who ties him up and drags him into a motorboat hoping that getting a good distance from the house will release him from the evil spirits and what do you know, leaving was the solution all along.

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Am I the only one who is really reminded of The Shining when watching this movie? It’s about a house full of evil spirits who convince a man to murder his family and George’s weapon of choice is an axe…. Anyway, I’m a sucker for haunted house movies and there’s just something that I quite like about this movie. I think the acting is very good for the most part, I mean Ryan Reynolds is just playing himself most of the movie but he does a good job when George is really struggling mentally. Pretty much all of the scares are very cheap jump scares and for a movie that’s meant to be scary rather than just slightly creepy it fails pretty hard there. I quite like the lighting the movie has, it’s a very grey dull look that does well to create atmosphere when creepy things happen. If you want a creepyish movie with a few decent jump scares that is quite entertaining then there are worse ways to spend 90 minutes.

The Amityville Horror - Remake
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