10 Years: “The Amityville Horror (2005)”

Even though you know the film you’re going to watch, a remake, sucked the first time and will probably suck this time, there’s somehow some hope that it won’t. This kind of optimism should seriously be banned.

The MGM and Dimensions Films film “The Amityville Horror”, may not be as boring as the original, but it comes pretty damn close. A close second.

This horror remake stars Ryan Reynolds (“Woman in Gold”, “The Captive”), Melissa George (“The Slap (U.S. TV mini-series”, “The Good Wife”), Jesse James (“TMI Hollywood”, “Wishin’ and Hopin’”), Jimmy Bennett (“A Girl Like Her”, “Garfunkel and Oates”), Chloe Grace Moretz (upcoming “Dark Places”, “If I Stay”), Rachel Nichols (upcoming season “Continuum”, “Rush”), and Philip Baker Hall (“Madam Secretary”, “Playing It Cool”).

The film was directed by Andrew Douglas (“U Want Me 2 Kill Him?”, “Miracle of Phil (Short 2008)”) and written by Scott Kosar (“Bates Motel”, “The Crazies (2010)”). It is based on the book of the same name by Jay Anson.

The film originally hit theaters on April 15, 2005.

Now, I’ll admit, right now, that as I write this, some 25 minutes after having finished the film, I’m incredibly tired. I’m sure we’ve all experienced this. So, the question must be asked, why did I decide to watch this film when I knew I was this tired? I wanted to get it over with. I wish I could say I was delaying deliberately, but that’d be a lie. I just hadn’t gotten around to it. Now I have and may very well have made the experience even worse than it was going to be to begin with. But, as goes the saying, the show must go on.

To start with, my tiredness, coupled with my existing dislike for remakes, didn’t help me digest the “discovery” that this film was set in the ‘70s. Why? Was this necessary? Were they so intent on doing an absolute remake that originality never even pretended to enter into the thought process. I can’t say that changing the time period to anything modern, and keeping with the existing storyline/mythology, would’ve saved this film, but it may have made it more interesting. This remake, and the “creative” team behind it decided that even having Reynolds look like James Brolin, was a must. Okay, not completely alike, but damn near enough that it’s annoying. It has me wondering, did they model the look after Brolin or after pictures of the real George Lutz?

The annoying jump scares and accompanying music… oh good god I can’t keep doing this. [sigh] This is getting ridiculous. Okay… It’s tiresome. Factoring in the decade that’s passed since this film came out doesn’t make the tired use of jump scares any easier to go through. Sure, I guess they worked, if you’re thinking about the fact that I reacted and jumped. Someone would say they were successful. But they weren’t crafted in any way that was original. The music, which itself was dull, just came out of nowhere to force the jump scare. No build up. Just occurred and sometimes lingered unnecessarily. I grew so tired of it (on top of my already tired nature) and I begged for this film to end. It didn’t end soon enough.

The blood and gore, which seemed to be at this time emerging as a major unnecessary factor in horror films, was useless. It purely existed because these guys wanted to show they had better technology and could make things more gruesome. Possibly in any other film it’d be interesting, but here it wasn’t.

I usually get excited about what the actors contributed, but here there wasn’t much. There were maybe a few nice family moments, but nothing that really got me excited about them individually or as a whole family unit. I couldn’t even convince myself that these people were slowly descending into terror. The moments that should’ve evoked fear or danger, or anything towards or for the characters, only had me rolling my eyes. I guess that also says more about the story itself. It was boring. Incredibly boring. At about an hour, with only 30 minutes or so left, I found myself more bored than scared or frightened.

While it may not be the best thing to admit the level of tiredness that accompanied my watching this film, I truly don’t think it actually affected me as much as I’m giving it credit. It was more unfortunate. The film was just bad. Nothing could’ve saved it. It’s just another remake that nobody asked for, but we still got saddled with. When it comes to horror, one day (we can hope), studios will learn. Of course, by that point, they’ll be remaking horror films from two years ago.

I was stupid enough to see this film in theaters (so faded, so old)… I know, I know. Let’s move on.


One thought on “10 Years: “The Amityville Horror (2005)”

  1. I haven’t watched this movie since its original release in theaters (yup, I spent the money and saw it on the big screen as well) but it has been on cable lately and I found myself watching about 10 mins into the movie, and then turning it off roughly 20 mins after that. I remember thinking when seeing it in theaters that the use of loud music and the jump scares were so lazy and crappy way of telling the story. It was a waste of what could have been an interesting story. The whole thing just lends itself to a slow, intense build of the father loosing his mind and being driven to kill his family. All the film makers had to do was look to The Shinning for references. Oh, well. Here’s hoping we don’t get another one of these for a long while.


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