New ‘Amityville’ movie makes some improvements

Daily Sundial

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The Amityville Horror” 2005 version is definitely better than the 1979 version in every way possible.

The quality of production and superior special effects, along with higher quality acting and scarier scenes, all make for a better movie. Unfortunatley, the writing, which was terrible then, is terrible now.

Throughout the length of the movie, the background story of the crazy priest failed to show that it had any profound impact on the scariness. In order to succesfully impart the importance of the evil roots of the house to the audience, it is necessary to elaborate, perhaps even introduce the priest’s story first.

Another big problem is the film’s opening caption, “Based on a true story,” which can be misleading. When the “The Amityville Horror” was published in the late 1970s, it was viewed as non-fiction. When the movie arrived in theaters, the events of of the story’s chronology had not yet been questioned.

Back then, it was ok for a “based on a true story” claim. But in the present time, much of what the novel accounts has been questioned, and many of it’s events have been revealed to be purely fictional. Therefore, it is dishonest and misleading to make the same claim with the new movie.

The movie is overall creepy, but not completely scary. The new “Amityville” does make improvements over the original, mainly because the acting, along with the bloody effects, are done better.

But the filmmakers have downplayed the role of the priest, played by Rod Steiger in the first film and by a considerably more subdued Philip Baker Hall in the second. The priest is the backbone of the story. If explained thouroughly, an eerie and frightfull element could have been added to the film. And the absence of scenes showing the torture and slaughter of his victims leave the audience waiting for scenes that never arrive.

George, played by Ryan Reynolds, and his wife Kathy, played by Melissa George, and their children, move into what they believe is their dream home, only to later encounter bizarre and unexplainable events. George develops strange behaviors, spending much time in the house’s creepy basement and building up impatience and hatred toward his wife’s children.

Chloe Grace Moretz is great at playing the Lutz daughter who sees dead people. As Chelsea, Moretz does a convincing job portraying her cryptic interactions with her imaginary friend, Jodie.

Philip Baker Hall adds a touch of class by appearing as the Amityville priest Father Callaway, who comes to the haunted house at the request of Kathy, only to be chased off by a swarm of insects.

The newer version is not an awful movie, and it is also short, sweet and to the point, making it possible to visit the frightfull house, get your cheap thrills, and get out before you have a chance to realize there is not much substance to the movie.

The filmmakers use few computer-generated effects, and this works to “Amityville’s” advantage. This helps retain the classic look that the original movie had, and may also help maintain a classic and somber appeal.