The Amityville Horror (2005)
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Review Date: April 15, 2005
Director: Andrew Douglas
Writer: Scott Kosar
Producers: Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Brad Fuller
Ryan Reynolds as George
Melissa George as Kathy
Philip Baker Hall as Father McNamara
A happy-go-lucky couple with 3 kids move into a “deal” of a house, knowing full well that the reason that they are getting this “deal” is because nobody else wants to live in that house, ever since the incident in which a young man killed his entire family there. I guess people are “funny” that way. They move in anyway to find that strange things start happening to them as well. Can the house be…haunted?? Wow. Who knew? Horror ensues.
If you can get past the one question that will invariably cross your mind throughout this entire film’s very short and quick runtime of 85 minutes, you might just enjoy most of what it frivolously has to offer, particularly if you’re part of the new generation of folks who don’t mind the wham-bam-scare-me-ma’am techniques of most horror flicks nowadays. The question? “Why don’t these people just leave the friggin’ house already!?!?” Starting with the scene in which the realtor tells the happy couple that a family was slaughtered in their house-to-be, to the first day in the house and the voices coming out of the walls, to the time the husband is nailing his wife and sees a little girl with a noose tied around her neck swinging over his bed, and so on and so forth. You get the picture, right? That said, if you can past that question (which incidentally, doesn’t have an answer…other than “Well, they stick around because this is a movie and if they left the house in its first 10 minutes, there would be no movie!), there actually is quite a bit to enjoy here, starting with the very cool Ryan Reynolds in a great turn as the man of the house, a man who most will find very charming at first, and ultimately, darn creepy. Granted, he’s no Jack Nicholson from THE SHINING, but he works and if that isn’t enough, the man’s got the physique of Adonis! And speaking of physiques, I might as well send some props over to his wife in the picture, Melissa George, as her tom-toms peaked my interest in the film early on as well.

Of course, if you’re looking for originality…this ain’t the house for you. This film has all of the standard elements found in most other haunted house movies (including its own 1979 doppelganger), doesn’t really bring anything unique to the table, but does offer a ton of “boo scares”, a rapid-fire pace that doesn’t ever allow you to be bored, effective directing, which worked on me a couple of times, and two believable and endearing leads, both of whom kept me going, despite the story being pretty straight-forward. I also liked the fact that Reynolds’ character was somewhat ambiguous as to his intentions/feelings as things creeped forward, and I particularly liked its ending, which despite seemingly leading into only one direction, actually took a left at Albuquerque, and concluded on a semi-surprising note. Oh, and thank you MGM for putting out a horror movie with an R-rating! That’s more like it! The film also offers some pretty nasty scenes of murder, plenty of blood, plenty of F-bombs (yeah, when I’m scared…I said “Fuck that!”, I don’t say “Fudge that!”) and despite no actual T&A, a nice shot of George ass and plenty of shots of Reynolds’ eight-pack. And what an eight-pack it is, let me tell you! Wow. All in all, see it for the lovely leads, see it for a surprising amount of effective “boo scares”, see if it you’re looking for quickie “horror fix” and see it so that you can remind yourself of what an R-rated horror movie looks like.

Also, the film contains two very memorable scenes, one of which has to do with the roof of the house and the other featuring one of the kids “helping” Reynolds chop wood. The best wood-chopping scene ever! And Reynolds…never lose the beard, bro…it works! And you’re right…the goddamn babysitter IS an idiot!!!
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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