I was not scared by this movie. Even the things that were supposed to be startling were not startling to me. The story of why the house is evil gets a very brief treatment and doesn’t match up well with the symptoms we see during the course of the film. And a lot of the time, the things the ghosts/house are doing just don’t make sense.
Which is not to say the film doesn’t work at all. Some of the things that were going on (especially re: the boat house) were clear and specific and working to drive George Lutz (played amazingly by Ryan Reynolds) mad and get him to murder his family. And Ryan’s performance was outstanding. His transformation from the light-hearted, happy-go-lucky man that Ryan has played perhaps too often in the past into the fierce, angry, determined being that is being driven to acts of increasing menace and violence is well done. Perhaps too quick, to keep the pacing of the movie up to modern audiences’ standards, but otherwise believable and the scariest scenes in the movie feature George when he’s in between sane and that point of being totally under the house’s control. This is the most impressive performance I’ve ever seen Ryan Reynolds give, and it really shows his range as an actor.
The special effects are excellent, the lighting and cinematography are appropriate, the sound is sufficiently well-produced. The other performers do well enough, and the children were all well cast. Especially Jodie (Isabel Conner), a little dead girl, whose performance shines nearly as bright as Ryan’s. Phillip Baker Hall almost seemed to be phoning in his performance as a priest scared of the house; he has done, and could have done here, much better work.
Overall, if you are a fan of horror films, you will probably enjoy this one. I may just not have been in the mood to be scared. If you don’t like horror, or if you are highly critical or remakes and adaptations, stay away.
One more thing:
Ryan Reynolds is … very fit.
Remarkably so. The most memorable visual in the movie may not have been any twisted, bloody, rotting, horrible apparition, but Ryan Reynolds walking around without a shirt on.
Ripped. Ripped is a good word to describe him. I’d seen that he’d put on a lot of muscle for Blade III, but it’s all still there, maybe moreso, for Amityville. His entire upper body looked carved. Broad, muscular shoulders, well-defined pectorals, six-pack abs, huge arms…
If nothing else, watching The Amityville Horror instilled me with a renewed drive to work out. I actually used my Bowflex again this morning, did a full set of upper body exercises on it, was somewhat surprised that my strength seems to have gone up since the last time I used it. Plus I was easily able to do about 360 crunches (about half of them oblique) with 50lbs resistance. I’ve been working on following my diet (the one I’m writing the diet book for right now), and between that, getting back to using the Bowflex, and probably some bicycling, maybe I can get into that kind of shape myself.
I mean, if Carrot Top and Van Wilder can do it, I can. Right?
(Have you see Carrot Top without a shirt? I thought it was a fake chest at first.)