Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, Jesse James, and Philip Baker Hall
Directed by Andrew Douglas
Distributed by MGM Home Entertainment
Coincidentally enough, as I write this the time is now 3:15am. That deadly time. Luckily for my sleeping significant other, I don’t own a firearm or have a demonically induced blood lust. The same couldn’t be said of Ronnie “Butch” DeFeo. Back in the 1970’s he committed a most infamous crime. A mass murder that led to one of the most bizarre hauntings of all time — The Amityville Horror.
The story has been referenced, told, and then retold time and time again with varying results. The world will never learn what really happened to both the DeFeo’s and The Lutz’s. However, if we’re to believe director Andrew Douglas, things we’re a lot grimmer than we had thought. The film starts with the words “Based upon a true story”, but believe me when I tell you a lot of liberties were taken with this latest version of Amityville. I’ve always been fascinated by the tale, and have done a lot of research on my own. Amityville is a tale mired in controversy and as with anything having to do with this story there was a ton of it waiting for the remake as well. Mainly coming from the real life George Lutz who was extremely upset at the way he was depicted.
Ryan Reynolds’ characterization seems to go from sane to bat shit nuts in record time leaving the viewers to play a bit of catch up. He’s mean, he’s psychotic, and apparently he is willing to show his abs given any opportunity. However, the film does have its short comings. It really could have used a bit more character development. Some more exposition would really have helped pace the film a bit better. Considering the films run time is a relatively short eighty-nine minutes (including six minutes of end credits), I’m sure the filmmakers could have allowed for at least another five minutes or so of screen time to really glue things together. But hey, you know Hollyweird! They gotta make it as short as possible to make as much cash as they can! All in all though, 2005’s The Amityville Horror is a solid little ghost tale thanks in part to some really great imagery and acting that never comes off dry or stilted.
Then there’s the gore. I never thought that this film would end up being so violent. Oh happy day! Kudos to the filmmakers for not being shy with the red stuff. There’s shit being splattered and splashed around everywhere. I respect that. As genre fans, I’m sure you will too. The gore is deliberate as well. It comes when it is needed and it is there in buckets. A particular wince inducing scene between the babysitter and one pissed off little spirit comes to mind! Good, gooey stuff!
On the extras side of things we get a nice little package. The Supernatural Homicide featurette gives you a brief overview of the events surrounding the documented Amityville case through interviews with those that had either investigated the haunting or the crime. This is probably the best feature on the disc as truth can be a helluva lot more disturbing than fiction. Not to mention a lot more interesting. Speaking of uninteresting we also get your basic behind the scenes featurette that walks you through the motions of making a horror film. There are some deleted scenes with an optional commentary, and also a commentary with the films producers along with Ryan Reynolds. This proved to be pretty entertaining as well, do in no small part to Reynolds’ hammy type of charisma.
The 2005 version of The Amityville Horror is one of the franchises best entries. Although, considering the quality of the films contained in said franchise, that really isn’t saying a whole lot. If you need your dosage of quick blood splattered ghosties, look no further than that little house with the strange windows at 412 Ocean Avenue in Long Island, New York. Just make sure you bring your fly paper along. Things can get pretty bugged out!
Behind the Scenes – Making Of – “The Source of Evil”
“Scene Deconstruction: Supernatural Homicide”
Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
Trailers – Sony Pictures Previews
Multi-Angle On Set Peeks
3 out of 5