''Amityville' -- a horror of a remake

The Amityville Horror' -- R

When originality is absent there is always the option of remaking a film that did well when it came out, and try to remake its success also. This happened with the 2003 version of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," and, despite how successful it was, it did not match the presence of the original. The same goes for this year's remake of "The Amityville Horror." What was a powerful step for the horror genre itself in 1979 is now just another scary movie that can only keep your attention with its jumpy scenes and campy violence.

Kathy and George Lutz (Melissa George and Ryan Reynolds) are a newly married couple (Kathy is a widow with three children) that wants something better in their lives than the trailer-size home they are living in. It's a dream come true when the couple stumbles upon the cheap, large and vacant Amityville Riverside home. Of course there is a catch, as George Lutz would say. It turns out that one year ago, the entire Defeo family was murdered by Ronnie Defeo, but that of course is no reason to not buy a house. After they are happily moved in, the Lutz family soon realizes that what was a dream come true is now a black hole of a nightmare, one they are all stuck in.

The house turns out to be the home to creaking floor boards, groaning vents and apparitions resembling drooling creatures and undead little girls. All of these factors play their own part in making the audience jump, when accompanied by vociferous waves of music. Some of these images are intensely scary, and the gothic style of the film makes it creepy enough to surpass "The Ring 2."

But "The Amityville Horror" has too many false frights and horror clichés; that disable it from ever outgrowing the campy style of the original.


As for the performances, Reynolds does a comparable job, and sometimes a better one, than James Brolin. But he's still stuck in his comedic actor phase and it's hard to take him seriously. The child actors do a decent job, excluding the youngest, and Chelsea Moretz's job as the daughter of the family develops much like that of Dakota Fanning's in "Hide and Seek."

In the end, "The Amityville Horror" is another fruitless and pointless remake, and no matter how trite the original may be, the remake does not match the presence that the original did. However, disregarding the original, this horror film may make you jump, but after the climax of the film, none of the chills will follow you home.

Max Arnzen is a senior at John Marshall High School and a post-secondary education option student at Rochester Community &; Technical College. To respond to reviews in Sound &; Vision, call 252-1111, category TEEN (8336) or send e-mail to

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