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Amityville HorrorThe Amityville Horror on DVD

If studios insist on rehashing old films, maybe they should put something into them. In a year obsessed with remakes, we’ve had surprisingly few original ideas from Hollywood of late.

The Amityville Horror remakes the original, which was based on the “true” story of a couple that moves into a house in a quaint little town and is terrorized by a phantom menace that isn't Darth Sidious. Ryan Reynolds stars in this version, which makes the same mistake as so many other such films: it sucks.

We never saw the original, but heard it was pretty terrible. And unfortunately, we can’t tell you how true to the original the remake is. This film is basically like a bad version of The Shining. And we really didn’t like The Shining.

The mood is built very well right off the bat, however. The characters portray the necessary creeped-out feeling extremely well, and it was impressive how the house changed from welcoming to menacing based on the scene. But it takes too many wrong turns and before you know it, 89 minutes of your life have been lost.

The worst thing about the movie is that we really don’t know if this was even a true story. Most seem to believe that the folks to whom this happened were big fat liars, and this story isn’t the least bit interesting if it isn’t true, if for no other reason than it’s the same story as The Shining. (Editor's note: apparently, the veracity of the original "incident" has been debunked, though we don't have the info.)

There’s really not a lot to say about this movie. It sucks, and that’s all there is to it. But it was a financial success, which means we’ll probably be subjected to countless more crappy remakes before somebody finally smacks some sense into these Hollywood execs.

There’s absolutely, positively no reason to watch The Amityville Horror. Those looking for fun, frights, or even a sufficient time-waster will be disappointed.

The DVD is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Picture is what we would call artistically grungy, meaning it looks a little bleak and bland, but appears to be deliberate. There is no dust or grain on the print, and colors shine through when they need to, but the overall feeling is very depressing. Audio is done well, with the dynamic range of the fronts and rears being bang-on. Dialogue is a bit muffled at times, but you never care much.

Ryan Reynolds and the producers get together for an audio commentary that only the strong will survive. While it’s not a terrible commentary, you can’t help but notice you’re watching the movie again. Some deleted scenes make you wish the entire movie was in this section, and are hard to take seriously.

There’s a short featurette on the DeFeo murders from which the story originated, but it’s way too short to actually be an informative piece, and there are too many wackos with opposing positions. The other featurette is a making-of piece, which sees the main players talking about how great the movie is going to be.

If only someone had a time machine…

Finally, there are some multi-angle on-set peeks, a photo gallery, and some trailers.

The Amityville Horror, from MGM Home Entertainment
89 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George and Philip Baker Hall
Produced by Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Brad Fuller
Screenplay by Scott Kosar, directed by Andrew Douglas


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Updated May 13, 2006