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The Amityville Horror (2005)

 -  Drama | Horror | Mystery  -  15 April 2005 (USA)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 64,844 users   Metascore: 33/100
Reviews: 509 user | 215 critic | 31 from Metacritic.com

A family is terrorized by demonic forces after moving into a home that was the site of a grisly mass-murder.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Isabel Conner ...
Brendan Donaldson ...
Annabel Armour ...
Realtor
Rich Komenich ...
Chief of Police
David Gee ...
ER Doctor
Danny McCarthy ...
Officer Greguski
Nancy Lollar ...
Librarian
...
Stitch
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Storyline

George and Kathy Lutz and their three children move into a house that was the site of a horrific murder a year before. They decide to keep the house and try to keep the horror in the past. This is until, George starts to behave weirdly and their daughter, Chelsea starts to see people. What now follows is 28 days of sheer terror for the family. Written by Film_Fan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

What happened over the next 28 days has never been explained. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, disturbing images, language, brief sexuality and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 April 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Terror en Amityville  »

Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$267,446 (Brazil) (19 August 2005)

Gross:

$522,408 (Brazil) (2 September 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While the reproduction of the Amityville House's famous exterior was constructed in Silver Lake, Wisconsin, many of the interiors were built on a temporary sound stage in an empty building located in a corporate park in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. The production company took out building permits in the village of Silver Lake, Wisconsin (in Kenosha County) and spent about $60,000 to adapt the historic Rustman House summer estate on the south shore of Silver Lake at Kenosha County Highways F and SA for its cinematic debut. (The Rustman fortune was earned in the Jefferson Ice company of Chicago in the harvesting and storage of ice from the wintertime lakes of Kenosha County and elsewhere, and shipping it to hotels for summertime usage and cooling before the advent of refrigeration.) The Rustman Estate consists of the "big" house. a smaller guest cottage, several farm buildings, two workers' cottages, a boathouse, a one-lane bowling alley, and wide pastures, garden plots and wooded areas. The porch on the house itself faces west and winds three-quarters of the way around the first floor. Inside there is a smallish kitchen but a dining room that seats 18-20 guests, a large living room, billiard room, butler's pantry, billiard room, and separate two-room maid's quarters. On the grand staircase was a stained-glass window (now removed) featuring an Eve-like maiden offering the viewer and apple. Upstairs, a vast master suite has been created from some of the original five upstairs bedrooms, each with its own marble sink. The third floor is the attic with a turret room high above Silver Lake where Mrs. Rustman would sit and watch the ice-cutters. The Rustman House awaits its next occupants as it has been unoccupied for several years and remains protected by a chain-link fence and hidden security devices. See more »

Goofs

The logo on the Alice Cooper poster in the boys bedroom was not used before 2000. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
The House: Catch them! Kill them!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Down to the Bone: Anatomy of a Prequel (2007) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Decent enough for Amityville and haunted house film fans, otherwise approach with caution
25 April 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

A remake of the film by the same name from 1979, which was based on Jay Anson's book about a supposedly "true" haunting, Amityville Horror begins in familiar territory by showing us Ronald DeFeo, Jr. (Brendan Donaldson) murdering his family. A year later, newlyweds George (Ryan Reynolds) and Kathy Lutz (Melissa George), with three kids from her previous marriage in tow, buy the vacant house at a steal, although they hesitate a bit once they learn why it's so cheap. Strange occurrences begin not long after they settle in. George becomes increasingly impatient and hostile, daughter Chelsea (Chloe Moretz) begins seeing the dead DeFeo girl, and so on. The film recounts their very brief but tumultuous stay at the home the Lutz's believed would be their dream home, but which turned into a nightmare.

After seeing the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), which had the same production team, principal scriptwriter and visual effects team, and which I loved--I gave it a 10--I was completely psyched for the Amityville Horror remake. After all, unlike my view of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), which I also gave a 10, I think the 1979 Amityville has more than its share of problems. I like the original in spite of that, but producer Michael Bay and crew had plenty of opportunity for improvement. Unfortunately, although some aspects of this remake are better in my view, it suffers from a host of new problems. Like the first, the assets are good enough to transcend the flaws so that it squeaks by with a very low "B", or an 8.

In my view, there are two primary problems, with at least one a bit ineffable. The more effable problem is that relative newcomer director Andrew Douglas (his previous effort was 2003's relatively little-known documentary Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus) instructs cinematographer Peter Lyons Collister to shoot the film using way too much close framing. I repeatedly felt the urge to take a couple steps back so I could better discern the action, the settings, the staging of scenes, and so on.

The second problem lies more in the realm of writing and editing--the film just doesn't seem to flow right. The transition from scene to scene often feels almost arbitrary. Even though Reynolds does a great job in his transformation as George Lutz (and the acting is superb all around), there was a sense of buildup in the original that this remake is missing. Further indicative of the transition problems, although seemingly minor, is the fact that the date, or the day of the Lutz' stay at the home, is sometimes given as a title and sometimes not. It seems like they just forgot to add the day titles for half of the scenes. Overall the final cut gives an impression of being hastily put together.

And that's a shame, because there is a lot of potential here. The house itself is impressive, as it needs to be, and the overall style of the film is nicely atmospheric. I was also impressed with the production design by Jennifer Williams, which among other assets tends to have the period setting spot-on. For example, I was a huge Kiss, Alice Cooper, etc. fan during this era (and I'm still a fan). Williams has a number of Kiss and Cooper images in the film. She very carefully ensures that none are anachronistic.

Even though scriptwriter Scott Kosar disappointingly expressed a lack of enthusiasm for Anson's book and the original film, he reintroduces a number of elements from the book that work well, but which were left out of the original film. He also introduces new scenarios that in some cases are among the best material of the film--such as a breathtaking sequence on the roof of the home, and the extension of the mythology behind the "haunting". He also greatly improves on sequences such as the babysitter. But on the other hand, he inexplicably changes core elements of the story, like the kind of being that Jody is.

Anyone frustrated with the typical horror style of the later 1990s and early 2000s may find this remake troublesome. As one might expect with Michael Bay producing, Douglas is encouraged to use "MTV-styled" cinematography and editing. There are a number of extended techniques that have become somewhat clichéd in recent years. Douglas has characters do that fast headshaking movement ala Jacob's Ladder (1990). There are sections shot in a cinema vérité style. There are instances of quickly changing film stocks and processing methods, and so on. Even though I usually love all of that stuff, and I'm actually a fan of Bay's work, I have to agree that it's not exactly the most natural fit in this case. But for me, it's not something I would subtract points for either.

Maybe the most surprising fact is that this version of Amityville Horror is so close, structurally, to the original. There is nothing here that is a big surprise, and anyone who has seen the 1979 film a number of times will know exactly what's coming next, or close enough to it. Whether this is positive or not depends on your opinion of the original film, and just how highly you cherish originality for its own sake. Big Amityville fans and big haunted house film fans will probably enjoy the film enough. Everyone else should approach with more caution.


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