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The Amityville Horror - horror/sci-fi DVD review
THE AMITYVILLE HORROR rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 1/2 stars
Actors: Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, Jesse James, Chloe Moretz
Director: Andrew Douglas   Studio: MGM
DVD release: 04 Oct. 2005   Runtime: 89 minutes (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD features: Eight Deleted Scenes, Scene Deconstruction: Supernatural Homicide (the DeFeo murders) Audio Commentary with Ryan Reynolds and filmmakers Multi-Angle On-Set Peeks, Photo Gallery, Previews, Closed Captioning

In an era where we bemoan the "remake" of movies, The Amityville Horror gets a solid upgrade in this 2005 outing. The modernization of such films usually means more gore, more blood, more visceral "boo!" scares, but a good chunk of additional storyline thrown into the mix makes this an effective updated film. Like the original version of the movie featuring James Brolin (George Lutz) and Margot Kidder (Kathy Lutz), this movie (after an effective opening) basically plods through without much of anything happening but cutaway "boo" scares - opening windows, gusts of wind, magnets rearranging themselves. The gripping tale is essentially a ghost/haunted house story with the Lutz family battling unseen malevolent forces within the house.

This version (screenplay by Scott Kosar) is the same story with the benefit of modern technology. Ryan Reynolds (Blade Trinity, Van Wilder) is cast as George Lutz and Melissa George (Mulholland Dr.) as Kathy Lutz, and as a couple they do share some onscreen chemistry. The Lutz children - Billy (Jesse James), Michael (Jimmy Bennet), and Chelsea (Chloe Moretz) - are done well by the respective child actors. Comparing the two films might be a moot point - neither one is a cinematic gold. But if you go in without any preconceptions, this is sufficiently scary. The house still has that creepy "alive" vibe and the gore is actually used to make the storyline better.

The basic plot flaws of The Amityville Horror aren't mitigated to any degree; both flicks use the aesthetics of their times, the current one following the Japanese horror model. There is enough here for those who like haunted house flicks or want to kill a couple hours on a rainy afternoon.
reviewed by Bobby Blades
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