Blu-ray Review: The Amityville Horror (2005)

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99% of the time I wouldn't hesitate to confess that I do not consider myself a superstitious person. But even though Ryan Reynolds logically surmises that “houses don't kill people; people kill people,” I still wouldn't move into a home wherein a family of six were slaughtered while they slept by a twenty-three year old rifle toting resident who said voices inside told him to do it.

Needless to say, horror movies don't operate that way. And this is a particularly potent truism when you're discussing works like this MGM produced remake of the 1979 chiller, which was inspired by author Jay Anson's novel account of the purportedly true eponymous story.

More specifically, since a year's gone by and crime scene tape has been replaced by a “for sale” sign, a few moments of hesitation are quickly replaced by the lovey-dovey can-do spirit of the new young married Lutz couple.

Quoting Tim Gunn thirty years before it would become his signature line on Project Runway since Amityville takes place in 1975, George and Kathy Lutz (played by Reynolds and Melissa George) vow to “make it work.”

Packing up Kathy's three children fathered by the deceased husband from her previous marriage along with the family dog, the Lutzes barely settle into one of Long Island's oldest (and seemingly largest) Dutch Colonial rambling homes before eerie events begin to occur.

Chronicling the freakish paranormal phenomena that pervades the family and threatens to take over George's mind as he becomes increasingly unhinged, the polished but pointless fast-paced effort produced by Michael Bay is set during the twenty-eight days the Lutzes stayed in the place before finally leaving for good.

Less overtly frightening and thankfully nowhere near as gruesome, gory, or grisly as most genre films pouring out of the dream factory in the twenty-first century, The Amityville Horror is indeed classified as a horror movie just by the name alone but it's more haunting than genuinely terrifying.

Although I wouldn't agree with the charge that it was “drivel” as dubbed by the real life George Lutz who was suing the filmmakers at the time of his death, unfortunately there's just nothing all that original about the tale to make it if not memorable than at least logical or interesting.

Especially when you realize that there's always been speculation as to the validity of the source material and whether or not the lawsuit happy Lutzes just made everything up, it's a wonder why the filmmakers didn't decide to just use their story as a jumping off point to build a new far more thrilling, free-wheeling fictitious account.

And despite the fact that the dully lit production becomes such a gloomily dark Blu-ray transfer that at times it's hard to discern what's going on, even if we just listened to the scenes with our eyes closed, there's not much of it that seems new.

Ultimately, the 2005 slice of Amityville plays like a lukewarm unappetizing microwaved dinner made up of left over pieces of The Shining and The Exorcist that time and time again, makes even the most grounded individual want to just crash the party and tell them to get the hell out of that house regardless of how tough the real estate market can be.

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FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.