The Amityville Horror (2005)
Film: The Amityville Horror
Director: Andrew Douglas
Writer: Scott Kosar
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George and Jimmy Bennett
This film begins with a young man being told by voices in his television and around his room to kill his family, the boy is played by Brendan Donaldson. It is a rainy night and goes from room to room, killing them with a gun. His youngest sister is played by Isabel Conner. She wakes up and hides in her closest. Donaldson finds her there and kills her as well.
We then shift to one year later. We have a married couple played by Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George. George was married previously, but her husband died. She has three children. The oldest is played by Jesse James, who has somewhat of an attitude problem. There is Jimmy Bennett and their youngest is a girl played by Chloë Grace Moretz in her film debut. Reynolds and George are going to look at houses today.
They come to the one in Amityville on the riverfront. The house is huge, but the price is low, so Reynolds is skeptical about it. George absolutely loves it. While they are looking at the house, the realtor sees a shadow moving, but doesn’t say anything. The couple decides they are going to make it work.
Reynolds begins to see things almost immediately. When Reynolds and George are making love, he sees Conner being hung at the foot of their bed. Reynolds also becomes cold and comes down with flu like system. He is constantly going to the basement to feed more wood into the fire. He also spends a lot of his day chopping wood.
Moretz also sees Conner, but she is not scared. They become friends. Conner has Moretz use her etch-a-sketch to draw the bad man who lives in the house. When she is questioned by George, she states a little of whom he is, but Conner gives her a sign to say no more. George just believes she has an imaginary friend.
Reynolds is usually a good natured, funny guy, but he progressively becomes angry. He yells at Bennett for going into the basement, which is now his office. He is rude to James and wanting him to help out with the chores outside excessively. He even makes him do his chores until he is done, not even letting him come in for dinner.
We see other things as well. When Bennett goes to the bathroom in the middle of the night, we see a specter over his shoulder. Their dog is constantly barking at things and Reynolds begins to see that maybe his family is not people, but demons.
None of the children know about what happened in the house until they are babysat by Rachel Nichols. She used to babysit for the family that murdered there. The movie is set in the seventies and she is definitely dressed that when she comes to the house. James thinks she is good looking and is there to impress her. Nichols tells them of the deaths in the house. Moretz tells her what Conner thinks of her and Nichols gets trapped in their closest. She leaves in an ambulance, terrified. Reynolds blows up about this and becomes even harder on them.
We also get images of this bad man that Moretz is referring to. There is a scene where arms are holding Conner back while Reynolds investigates the closest. We don’t see much of him, but his goal is to turn Reynolds against his family. Can he succeed? Will he get Reynolds to make history repeat itself or will George and her children be able to show him the truth? George does research and enlists the aid of a local priest, played by Philip Baker Hall. Can this family be saved?
I have to say that this film is an okay remake of the original. This one has some different things in it, which I like, but it also keeps most of the true story. Some things were that Reynolds plays a different character than James Brolin did. Where Brolin commands respect, Reynolds plays it a lot lighter. We do see a similar transformation which I thought was good. This one has more of just Reynolds and Moretz seeing things, where in the original the whole family did and it tore them apart. This one has Reynolds changing and the way he treats them is tearing them apart. These are just a couple of changes that I thought were good and helped to make this different from the original.
With that said, I think the original is a lot better. The first builds a story that is scary. This one builds a similar tale, but I didn’t feel as scared. The first one builds tension over time, where this one has things just out of sight for the characters, which I also find scarier in the moment, just not for the overall. Both films though did have issues with the story and this one did too. This one introduced the bad character, but it does too late and we really don’t get to see much of him. I think that was a bad move. If they wanted to use the character, they needed to introduce him earlier and get much more of him. I think that hurt this film.
I would still say that if you have never seen this film, I would give a viewing. More people have seen this one, which is a shame, because I feel it is inferior in general. The acting was better in the original. The story was better also. Special effects are better in this one, but there wasn’t a lot used in the first. The acting is decent, the story is lacking a little, but there are still some scares in this one. Overall not a bad haunted house film, but does lack that overwhelming feel of despair that the originally had. Still I would say that this film should be viewed.
My Rating: 6 out of 10