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The Amityville Horror

Year: 2005
Studio: Platinum Dunes
Director: Andrew Douglas
Producer: Michael Bay
Writer: Scott Kosar
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, Philip Baker Hall

I remember glimpsing snippets of the original film while walking past the TV as a kid, too terrified to watch it after seeing the ad in the week leading up to the broadcast. Just the thought of watching it all the way through terrified me as much as the thought of watching the Exorcist. So I sat down with two teenage girls on a stormy night with all the lights in the house off with considerable trepidation to watch this remake.

It wasn't a let down because it wasn't any good, there were some imaginative set pieces and I could watch Ryan Reynolds read a book and be entertained. But it wasn't the least bit scary, even with the shrieking girls, storm outside or darkness throughout the house.

Most film fans know the (true) story of George and Kathy Lutz, who couldn't believe the price they paid for their dream home in suburban Long Island but had no idea it was because a young man had gone crazy and murdered his whole family in their sleep the year before.

The premise is a classic haunting, with strange happenings appearing to torment the family and George (Reynolds) becoming increasingly stressed and uncaring to everyone around him, constantly cold and eventually experiencing a near-breakdown, Jack Torrance-style.

The Lutz's eventually escape, but this remake, the film on which it's based and the apparently true story is the pop culture focal point for the biggest question hanging over most haunted house stories - 'as soon as (insert manifestation of evil here) started, why didn't they just pack the fuck up and run?'

The answer makes me think the Lutz's story was an elaborate scam, but they've given film and literature one of their most endearing modern mythologies. As with John Moore's 2006 The Omen remake however, there was no point in updating it and nothing new is added by this well-made but not in the least scary version.

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