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Amityville’ hits horror film cliches dead on

Mark Bemenderfer | Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Superman and kryptonite. Hollywood and creativity. It often seems that if a flood of creativity washed over Hollywood, most of the executives and producers would implode from the pressure. That is why every year the audiences are swamped with remakes, sequels and spin-offs. Some of them are quite good, but those are definitely the minority. Along with adopting comic books as movies, Hollywood has found a profitable niche in remaking old horror movies. This is a potential goldmine – while horror movies are not exactly high-brow entertainment, many of them do hold a special place in the eyes of many people. However, the remakes tend to lose sight of what made the original special. The original “Dawn of the Dead” was considered to be a great satire, but its remake lost that social commentary. The “Aliens vs. Predator” movie had so many things wrong with it that it’s hard to begin describing them. Despite these mishandled translations, Hollywood continues to profit on these movies, and hence we have “The Amityville Horror” remake.Based on a “true” story, “The Amityville Horror” tells the story of the Lutz family. Since the family is in a lower income bracket, when they find a terrific house at an amazingly low price, they don’t bother to delve too deeply into the stories of “ghosts” which inhabit it. This is too bad, because a little bit of delving might have revealed that the ghosts had a little more substance than first suspected.It was hard to criticize any of the acting in the film. Ryan Reynolds manages to be funny in serious situations, but that actually helps the mood instead of detracting from it. Fans of “The Shining” know how amusing something deadly serious can be. It should be noted that Reynolds looks nothing like a contractor, which is his role in the film. Still trim and very much in shape from “Blade Trinity,” he looks too much like a model instead of a husband and working man.The rest of the actors also gave good performances, even the younger children. Children tend to be a sticky point in most movies, having had minimal experience acting, but the Lutz kids pulled their roles off well.The problems with the film are not to be found in the acting but in the plot. This is the fifth Amityville, and the producers evidently felt that they needed to modernize the movie. In order to do so, they looked at successful current horror movies and went down a checklist. Spooky kid? Check. Jump scares? Check. A promiscuous character? Check. To find out whether you might enjoy this movie, you should go down your own checklist. Do you want to see yet another spooky kid that seems to know what is going on and yet doesn’t do much? Do you like movies that crescendo into an anti-climax, and then jump out at the audience?However, despite these complaints, the movie was still enjoyable. For some, it might ruin the spontaneity of horror movies. But in a genre already filled with predictability, “The Amityville Horror” is solid enough to be enjoyable, if a little too closely derived from other Hollywood plots.