A family is terrorized by a malevolent presence after they
move into a house where a family was brutally murdered.
The Amityville Horror (2005)
Directed by Andrew Douglas
Written by Scott Kosar
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, Jesse James, Chloë
Grace Moretz, Jimmy Bennett, Philip Baker Hall, Rachel Nichols
Remake of 1979's The Amityville Horror
Based on the book by Jay Anson
The original Amityville wasn't exactly a masterpiece. It boasted a few creepy scenes, but nothing that really stands out in the "haunted house" subgenre. Then, there were a dozen or so cash-grab "sequels" that tried to cash in on the Amityville name. So, with all that in mind, I knew the 2005 remake wasn't going to be the next big thing. And lo and behold, I was right. Amityville 2005 isn't terrible, but it's nothing special. Ryan Reynolds is one of the film's saving graces, delivering a good performance outside of his wheelhouse. But there are no good scares and the product is bland. It's the tapioca pudding of horror remakes.
Every horror fan worth their salt knows the story of the Lutz family. In the winter of 1975, George and Kathy Lutz and their three children were allegedly terrorized by a host of evil spirits in their new house at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, Long Island. This film depicts those events with a new artistic flourish, which I actually appreciated. Instead of just ironing out the original and trying to sell it as a new movie (I'm looking at you, Psycho '98), this remake tries to add to the story. The attempted scares are different, and the character of Jeremiah Ketcham is introduced to explain the origins of the evil that dwells inside the house. Not a bad idea, but unfortunately the rest of the film doesn't measure up.
We get another abrupt ending with no real buildup, which was my biggest issue with the original. I guess you can chalk that up to the sudden and abrupt end to the true story, but if you're going to go out of your way to introduce a fictional villain into the story, why not change the ending as well, for the sake of the narrative? Some things remain a mystery to me with this franchise. For example, why nobody bothers to put any effort in with these movies. Still, it could've been worse. There's 30 years of shitty sequels to back that up.