Let's t with the good news: The house looks great, especially at night with a storm rattling its windows. Or is that noise coming from ghosts moaning inside? Everyone loves a haunted-house movie. That's why the first Amityville Horror, in 1979, was a hit despite being boring, stupid and excruciatingly overacted (the scariest element was Rod Steiger hamming it up as a priest). The remake, also called The Amityville Horror, as if the earlier movie never existed, isn't much better. Except for jacked-up special effects, it's the same old story based on Jay Anson's allegedly factual best seller about a Long Island family who move into a Dutch colonial in Amityville, only to learn their dream house has a history. Just a year earlier, in 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. shot his parents and four siblings in their beds, claiming the house made him do it. No wonder George Lutz (Ryan Reynolds) got a deal on the place. Undeterred, George, his wife, Kathy (Melissa George), and her three kids by a previous marriage (hubby died) move in. "There are no bad houses, just bad people," says George. Has this dude never seen a horror flick? Then he ts seeing things. Feeling cold, he chops wood, which requires an ax, which is not a good tool to have handy if your stepkids really irritate you. First-time director Andrew Douglas crams in every ghost cliche, from demonic faces to dripping blood. This house springs so many FX shocks it plays like a theme-park ride. Result? It's not scary, just busy. For the real thing, watch Psycho to see where Norman Bates shacks up with his mom. Or The Shining, which shows how a deserted hotel can freak out Jack Nicholson. Or The Haunting, the 1963 film of Shirley Jackson's story about a house you can feel in your bones. Or The Innocents, the 1961 screen take on Henry James' The Turn of the Screw, with a mansion that gives off menacing erotic vibes. What all those films have in common is precisely what the new Amityville Horror lacks: They know it's what you don't see in a haunted house that fries your nerves to a frazzle.
The Amityville Horror
- The Amityville Horror
- Jimmy Bennett, III, Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, Rachel Nichols, Chloe Grace Moretz
- Directed by Andrew Douglas
From The Archives Issue 104: March 16, 1972
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Around the Web
Cracked5 Famous Movies That Were Insane Parties Behind the Scenes
Guitar WorldTop 10 Best (and Worst) Comeback Albums of All Time
Diffuser27 Rockers Who Died at Age 27
Mental Floss33 Surprising Stories Behind Famous Songs
Screen Rant10 Decisions That Ruined Movies
Cracked5 Famous Albums You Can't Buy Anymore
- Watch Lauryn Hill's Show-Stopping 'Feeling Good' on 'Tonight Show'
- Up in the Air: Meet the Man Who Flies Around the World for Free
- Jimmy Carter: U.S. Is an 'Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery'
- 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
- Foo Fighters Promise to Visit Italian Town After Viral Video
- 'True Detective' Recap: Burning Down the House
- Eminem Reveals How Drug Use Led to Weight Gain, Recovery
- Dr. Dre Details Long-Awaited 'Compton: A Soundtrack'