The Amityville Horror

By Mark Ramsey | 2005/04/17

I knew MGM had been acquired by Sony the minute the venerable MGM lion bowed politely, dropped his towel, and plunged into an all-male bath. “I will now be known as “Yu-Gi-Leo!”, he snarled courteously.

The Amityville Horror is based on a true story, like that time I had tea with aliens after racquetball with Bigfoot and a luncheon honoring El Chupacabra at the Lost City of Atlantis Marriott.

True just like that.

The action takes place in the sleepy hamlet of Amityville, the only spot on the Long Island Expressway where the accent exits at Marina del Rey.

I pity a house with eyes for windows if it means it has to watch itself in this movie. A crappy remake of a crappy amityville_dressforhorror.jpg

original, Amityville is one-hundred minutes of rationalization for five minutes of chills. And the third act is so atrocious, you’ll be tempted to demand your money back if only it didn’t require admitting that you paid for this in the first place.

Amityville features a cast of quasi-nobodies – somebody’s got to occupy the low rung on Hollywood’s star ladder because how else would everyone step on you?

I think it goes without saying that you should never move into a house where a multiple homicide has taken place, unless, of course, that house is a Manhattan brownstone in which case I’d advise taking matters into your own hands.

I haven’t seen the original Amityville in a long time, mostly because the movie is both boring and, thanks to star James Brolin, disturbingly hairy. Ryan Reynolds is no James Brolin, despite his attempt to match the master, follicle for follicle.

Ryan plays a contractor who’s never on a job site, a manly man who chops a lot of wood. Chop, chop, chop! For God’s sake, it’s enough wood to end America’s dependence on imported oil and, judging from Ryan’s appearance, increase our dependence on domestic manicures.

Sadly, all work and no play makes Jack a homicidal maniac. Ryan’s eyes burn red whenever evil possesses him. No wonder Visine swapped the tagline “Gets the red out” for “The power of Christ compels you!”

And when Ryan begins to go loony his natural speech impediment takes a sharp turn to Looney Tunes. “Wipe that amityville_botox.jpg

thtupid look off your fathe and go to bed!” he screams. It’s the Tweetie and Sylvester Manson Family: “Helter Thkelter, Thucker!”

It was only a matter of time until the late-night TV test pattern would whisper “kill them!” I don’t know about you but if I wanted to see a Demonic TV message imploring me to kill I’d watch anything starring Ryan Seacrest.

Spirits dart through hallways, malinger behind walls, and echo through the ventilation system. The only place you can’t find Spirits is at the theater’s snack counter and, believe me, that’s the place where liquor is needed most.

Philip Baker Hall reprises the late Rod Steiger in a scene where Hall is swarmed with so many digital flies one suspects there must be Eau De Shit-Hole Diner in his blood.

In the middle of bedroom sex, Ryan sees a dead child on the footboard. “This was supposed to be a turnoff,” said Ryan, “but I’m a guy. You could have the entire Vienna Boy’s Choir dangling from nooses like a canopy fringe and I promise, I’ll worry about it later.”

Sensing the need for fresh air, Ryan and his Mrs. go out on the town and leave the kids with a babysitter whose fashion sense seems aimed at exorcising the pants off her hips. If ghosts like to suck Tequila out of belly-buttons, this babysitter has come to the right place.

The rest of us will have to be content to suck a handful of chills out of the sucky Amityville Horror.

Photos Copyright ©2005 MGM, Inc.

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