The Amityville Horror [Remake]

Same space, newly renovated
Andrew Douglas
Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, 3 annoying kids
The Setup: 
Remake of the non-classic, amped-up for a more ignorant generation.

I watched the original of this movie a few weeks before this new one came out, and it was even worse and cheesier than I anticipated. I was hoping the remake would be fairly decent, and you have a the necessary element there—i.e. creepy house—and I hoped that they would throw out a lot of the “adherence to the facts” that made the original such a bore and retool it to make it actually scary. But no. What’s most disappointing about this movie is how, even though they changed the events, it remains pretty much the exact same movie, just turned up a notch.

I was not bored or unentertained during the 90 minutes I spent in the theater, but for me, there’s nothing here that’s scary. What horror [the genre] has devolved into as it becomes more popular—essentially a bunch of empty “Boo!” scares—just isn’t scary to me. But for a film to have an effect it has to have TIME to build an effect [not to mention atmosphere or thematic resonance] and this is not possible in a country that increasingly has no attention span. Here some face or creepy something appears onscreen with a crashing noise every five minutes, lest anyone get “bored.”

But… aren’t you BORED with those idiotic scares?

I won’t go on too long here, as there’s no point. If you like these kind of scares, you get what you deserve.

Incredibly, there’s not even any interest to be had in comparing the two versions.

The only point of interest to the film is the way they’ve redesigned the house. They added an entire floor to the bottom that is a glassed-in porch [I was thinking “Jeez… and I never have time to wash my THREE windows”], which doesn’t accomplish much and is used to no purpose, but it does make the house taller and narrower. The exteriors and the interiors do not really match, as they’ve made the house so tall and narrow to emphasize its scariness. The interiors are also designed to be unusually tall and narrow. This isn’t much, but at least it’s a kind of clever cinematic sleight-of-hand, and truly is the only clever thing about the entire film. It is most noticeable when the dippy little girl goes out on the roof for no other reason than that we need a sequence of peril; you can see that the roof is pitched at a very steep angle that doesn’t match the interior at all. Whatever, at least they tried something somewhat interesting.

On the last day the family spent in the house, the wife is at the library before it opens in the morning, does some research, visits the priest, but by the time she goes home [seemingly around noon] it is the dark of night, because the climax has to happen at night. Huh. Ghostly forces, I guess.

Mildly entertaining, like cinematic potato chips, not scary, not interesting, devoid of subtext. The only interest this movie can drum up is the way it signifies one more beat in the continual death knell of the Horror film.

Should you watch it: 

You could, but you’d seriously get more benefit by using that time to masturbate.

THE AMITYVILLE HORROR [ORIGINAL] is just as bad but twice as dull.
AMITYVILLE II: THE POSSESSION is actually pretty good and scary, with a watered-down Italian horror sensibility being brought to the technique.
THE HAUNTING [ORIGINAL] is among the best haunted house movies ever.