Movie Review: The Amityville Horror (2005)

Friday night as we were out eating, we were deciding what we wanted to do over the weekend. Kelsi and I wanted to see the new Amityville Horror movie. Its not that I thought it would be something cool, I just wanted to see what they would have changed from the 1979 movie, which for some reason I always liked. This was honestly my reasoning for going and I even said out loud to Jonna that I didn’t really care if it sucked, I was just curious.

Well, my friends, I cared.

I had read the book and watched the original movie years ago and while I knew deep down that there were some “creative license” taken in the telling of the story, I always felt that overall both told a pretty realistic story about something that might have happened. The way the original movie was put together things were evenly played out, day by day, and a story was unravelled. It had a pace that was tolerable — and a plot. Whether what happened in the movie really happened or not, you were engaged in the characters and the movie was paced well enough to keep you involved.

One thing thats becoming obvious to me as I see more and more “remakes” of older movies is that something has been lost in movie making these days. Plot and story telling is no longer important, and everything is so fast paced that you can’t follow it. Movie makers nowadays seem to approach the story by the cool things you can do with special effects first and only after they figure all of that out do they focus on the story. The new remake is a prime example. The best way I can explain it is that it is loosely based on the original story (very loosely based) and a cross between that and The Grudge, a movie that I wrote about in February and hated. The effects were that gratuitous.

If I were the person actually previewing the movie before release I would have recommended that they change the name of the movie and the two main characters before release. They changed the name of every other character anyway, and the story was so different from the original that it was obvious that MGM just wanted a tie back to the original movie to guarantee that shmucks like me would hit the theater just based on the name alone.

To give them some credit, it worked.

I went out of pure nostalgia. I liked the first movie and the story it told. It was cheesy, and Margot Kidder was annoying (to give her credit though, she was much more “real” than Melissa George), but the movie was entertaining and realistic enough to make you wonder whether the events could have been possible. I wanted to see how movie making today could do a better job at telling the story. What I got was, for all intents and purposes, a special effects movie that had little in common with the original other than the main two characters and the house. They would have been better off calling this “Amityville 9 – A Completely Different Interpretation”.

I seriously think that my time would have been better served watching Amityville: Dollhouse.

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