April 22 - 28, 2005• Vol. 26 - No. 16

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Amityville Horror
—More Horror Than You
Might be Looking For…

by The Maven and The Blonde
Film Columnists

Amityville Horror is a remake that is based on a true story. Closely following the book by Jay Anson and the original screenplay by Sandor Stern, the current screenplay by Scott Kosar holds no surprises or changes. Amityville Horror is the ULTIMATE real estate nightmare (more than the norm). In fact, the ad should read, “Beautiful, Spacious, Dutch Colonial, on waterfront, but OH ALL THAT BLOOD!”

Newly married to a widow with three children, George Lutz, played by Ryan Reynolds (Blade Trinity and National Lampoon's Van Wilder), is looking to relocate to a peaceful house in the country. He and his wife Kathy, portrayed by Australian actress Melissa George (Down with Love and Mulholland Drive), find a beautiful home that seems too good to be true. (Hint, there is usually a reason a real estate deal sounds way too good)! Sure enough, the realtor eventually informs the couple that a family of six was murdered there. Apparently the deal is just too good to let a little thing like murder scare the Lutzes away. (BIG MISTAKE… BIG…HUGE!) In the original film, the scary part takes longer to get started, but this remake is thirty minutes shorter, so the fright starts right away. (Oh, Goody!) In no time at all, George is acting differently—but you forgive him because he looks fantastic, shirtless—and the young daughter is talking to a dead girl (Don't ya just hate when that happens?)! When Kathy gets suspicious, she enlists the aid of a priest, Father Calloway, played by Philip Baker Hall (Sum of All Fears and The Insider), who confirms her fears that indeed the house is haunted. (OK, LIKE DAH!) Unfortunately, the evil presence in the house is too strong for him to cope with and he RUNS away (with Olympic speed)! Meanwhile, George is now living in his basement (note, horror films always have very bad things hiding in basements) and he seems obsessed with chopping wood (shirtless, which is nice for the women in the theater). It's up to the wife (not to mention mother of three) to save the family. If you are thinking this movie is trite, DON'T! There is much more gore, blood and some very chilling subject matter…

The Blonde: Oh my word, the only thing scarier than Camilla Parker Bowel's wedding headpiece was this film. Amityville Horror was like What Lies Beneath meets Hide and Seek meets Nightmare on Elm Street meets The Sixth Sense meets The Exorcist meets The Haunted Mansion and The Shining meets Poltergeist. This film upset me even more than I had expected because it was based on a true story. I can't tell you moviegoers how much I hated and loathed the first two minutes of this film (and just about the other hour and a half as well) and if I weren't reviewing it, I would have walked out. I just don't like movies that kill children or animals, especially in a frightening and violent way.  By the way, Maven, I didn't appreciate you trying to scare me the whole time, with your fingernails!  NOT FUNNY…

The Maven:  HEY, those were my toenails… I wouldn't risk my fresh manicure for a simple scare! My first question is, why remake a horror film that was so good the first time around? James Brolin and Margo Kidder were truly great in the original. I guess someone wanted to up the scare factor. Well, they DID do that. However, in moving events forward in a shorter time, I felt they lost the subtlety in George's deterioration. Ryan Reynolds did a wonderful job, but we never got to LIKE him enough to inspire us to care about him. By the way, Blonde, it WAS a great house.

The Blonde: Personally, I don't care how great a house is…Once a realtor tells me that six people (four of them being children) were murdered in the house, I am history! Maybe it's just me, but when I see dead people around the house I live in, I am in a hotel in another state!

The Maven: I can't help but remember Eddie Murphy's special on HBO when he does the bit on haunted houses. He said, “If a house starts to talk to you, move out!” These people had 28 days of unnatural happenings before they finally left. So why then would you EVER GO INTO THE BASEMENT! Thank G-d we live in Florida—no basements!

The Blonde: Basements or attics aside, this film manipulated my emotions and took me on a roller coaster ride of fear and tension. I only put up with that from my kids!

The Maven:  Watch it, I love roller coasters and often ride them with my kids. I went online to the site of the original owners of “High Hopes.” There's the whole story of the DeFeo family and their murder that supposedly sparked the haunting in the Lutz's house. Ronald DeFeo Jr., who was responsible for his family's murders, was one BAD KID!

The Blonde: And we complain when our kids just mess up the house (WITHOUT ANY BLOOD)! HUH? As far as horror films go, this one had all the typical cliché events. There were the bathtub scenes, the jumping from the rooftop scenes, the fire, the rain, lights flickering, the eerie music and sound effects, lots of blood, evil faces, swinging chandeliers, the exorcist who runs AWAY in fear, the dreaded basement, locked doors  mysteriously opening, tension filled screaming, people falling in the water and then some… Ya know your basic Saturday night TEENAGE party!


The Blonde: The big question for me was… if a priest runs for the hills out of my house, my dog is killed, my kids are seeing things (MORE THAN USUAL) and my husband is growing horns so to speak, (AGAIN MORE THAN USUAL) my babysitter goes anatomic from a night of babysitting, (WELL, THIS ONE IS USUAL MOST OF THE TIME), I don't think I would stay to see what else happens. But hey, that's just ME!

The Maven: Why, you stayed with your second husband and the effects were very similar!


The Maven:  AND...EXCUSE ME, I understood everything BUT the ANATOMIC babysitter, do you perhaps mean CATATONIC?

The Blonde: NEVER MIND! Anyway, Maven, this movie actually gave me heart palpitations and hot flashes, and I am nowhere near menopause, like you.

The Maven: Hey, keep me out of this.

The Blonde: Sorry, it's just that this film deeply disturbed me.

The Maven: Oh, give me a break, you have always been disturbed.

The Blonde: Yeah, but not like this!

The Maven: Did you hear that Oprah couldn't get into the Johnny Cochran funeral, but O. J. was there and Michael Jackson got a standing ovation upon entering?

The Blonde: I guess she's just too famous and not considered infamous enough to have gotten in. Too bad, though. She would have sported such a nice designer funeral dress with matching shoes and clutch!

The Maven: Speaking of appropriate funeral attire, I saw a photo of Charles and Camilla at the Pope's funeral. She actually looked so much better in black with pearls than her wedding gown bedspread. Too bad she didn't wear black to her wedding.

The Blonde: Well, at least (as far as I am concerned) it would have been more appropriate! MEOW MEOW…

The Maven: This was definitely gorier than the original. I'm not sure if that made it better or not! Melissa George didn't excite me at all, but Ryan Reynolds is always enjoyable. I rate this film a B for the rise in my blood pressure with a minus for rushing things along when the Lutzes first moved into the house. There could have been more depth to George if they had built up to his unhinging.

The Blonde: The moral of this story is BEWARE WHEN BUYING A HOUSE!!  This film was heaven verses hell AND good verses evil. If you like to be scared, if you like being distressed down to your soul, if you like evil, cruel, ugly, scary, horror, violence, killing, blood, and death, then LOSE MY NUMBER and run to see this film. For the rest of you, DON'T GO… DON'T GO… DON'T GO SEE Amityville Horror. BECAUSE OF ALL THE VIOLENCE INVOLVING CHILDREN, I hated every minute of this movie. To be fair, I have to give this picture two ratings (This is a first time I have done this). Personally speaking, I rate Amityville Horror an F. HOWEVER, as far as well-done horror films go, I rate it a C+. If you are going to ignore me, then for your snacks I suggest Red Vines, Red Hots and red punch to go with the bloody horror! Remember, THE BLONDE WARNED YOU!

P.S.: Moviegoers, for one of the FINEST films with the most to learn from that I have seen all year (and longer), RUN AND SEE Paper Clips. What an IMPORTANT movie this is! No matter if you are white, black, Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, man, woman, child, THIS IS A MUST-SEE FILM! IT IS AN A++++ FILM. If nothing else, you will never look at paper clips the same way! Do not miss Paper Clips!

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