So — and this would have been around the time the 1979 Amityville Horror came out — there was this kid I went to elementary school with on Long Island, and he used to regale us with stories of the real Amityville Horror house, because he used to live on the same street, and this, in the annals of kiddom, was as good as having wielded a murderous axe himself.
Oh, and then, at the same time, there was the crazy neighbor lady who lived across the street from us, who told my mom to get our house blessed. I don’t think she ever told my mom why a blessing was required. Wondering about why a house would require a blessing is, I promise you, something that can keep a kid up at night.
Those things were way creepier and scarier than this new Amityville Horror. Much is being made of how this is brought to you by the same people who brought you 2003’s remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and that should be considered fair warning. This is just as pointless a retread, blatantly gruesome and outright gory where the original made your skin crawl with the awesome power of suggestion. There’s no black oily stuff coming up out of the toilet, no puking nuns, no staticky phone, no window slamming on a kid’s fingers. Just the same old desiccated reanimated dead people jumping out and saying Boo! like we see in absolutely everything that passes for “horror” these days.
Oh, and it’s got Ryan Reynolds wearing bloodshot contact-
Look, Reynolds is badly miscast to start with — his frat-
Melissa George (Down with Love, Mulholland Drive), who plays George’s wife, Kathy, also is laughably miscast as the mother of three kids, one of whom is 12 years old; she herself looks barely out of high school. But at least she has some acting ability that allows her to exude the appropriate maternal attitudes of frustration, anger, love, etc. Reynolds has no such fallback. George is supposed to be increasingly possessed by the evil spirit of the house, but Reynolds’s idea of what constitutes “acting” is to make his eyes goes wide in a goofy manner… that is, when he doesn’t simply let those bloodshot contacts do the job for him.
It’s enough to make you want to pick up an axe yourself and start swingin’.