The Horror Returns
When I recently rewatched the original "The Amyityville Horror" I was disappointed by what I watched as it was not the scary horror movie I remembered from my childhood. It is because it left me under whelmed that I bit the bullet and watched the 2005 version of "The Amityville Horror" a movie which I had originally not intended to bother with because of those misplaced memories of the original. And in fairness as a horror movie this newer version of "The Amityville Horror" ticks more boxes than the original with expectedly better effects but also a better atmosphere. But in truth I don't think it should have been made or at least not made using the Amityville name because there are some very significant differences between this version and the original story and as a standalone haunted house movie it would have faired will with out forcing the comparison on the audience.
Up until now I haven't mentioned "remake" and in truth I don't think this 2005 version of "The Amityville Horror" should be known as a remake as whilst the basic elements are there it offers up different elements to the original. But as such this newer version starts like in the original as we encounter the murders of the family which lived at 112 Ocean Avenue and then a year later we meet the recently married George and Kathy who along with Kathy's children move in to the large house with the strange windows in the attic. From then on it is again a case of strange things start to happen, the daughter has an imaginary friend, George starts feeling ill and begins to turn increasingly short tempered whilst the babysitter has a nasty incident in the closet. But the scenes are not like for like and we have some new scenes in this newer version including one involving a child on a roof top plus we actually get to see the spirits which are haunting the house.
Now all of this flows a lot better than in the original, there is a better build up of atmosphere and with the added visuals which include seeing a finger going into a spirits bullet wound it has an expected modern appeal. It also despite being set in the 70s manages to pull of a modern look with the dead figures we see, especially that of a young child feeling heavily influenced by Eastern horror movies with the slick, black hair and rotting face. The only trouble is that whilst it comes together in a better way than the original it appears to rush to find an explanation and ending giving us a frantic final twenty minutes where miraculously we discover what is going on.
Now of course there is the acting and to be honest Ryan Reynolds had an incredibly tough act to follow as James Brolin's portrayal of George Lutz's psychotic decline is what made the original but Reynolds is good and comes off frequently as terrifying. But why oh why do we have to have so many scenes of a shirtless Reynolds with his six pack on display, it just feels like a cheap trick to appeal to those who watch because they find Reynolds sexy.
What this all boils down to is that the 2005 version of "The Amityville Horror" is a solid modern horror movie and ticks more boxes than the original. But with it deviating from the storyline it could easily have succeeded without trading on the Amityville name and probably would have been better by not forcing the inevitable comparisons on us by using it.