The Amityville Horror

(2005)  1/2 R
89 min. MGM. Director: Andrew Douglas. Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, Jesse James, Jimmy Bennett, Chloe Grace Moretz.
The Amityville Horror opens with the statement "Based on a True Story," but "Based on a Discredited Story as Enacted by James Brolin and Margot Kidder" would be more accurate. This remake of a 1979 horror flick shows no storytelling skill, failing to develop a rooting interest even as a blithely innocent family falls prey to a deadly house. Ryan Reynolds of Blade: Trinity plays the boyfriend of Melissa George, a widower with three kids. You can begin by blaming leads that lack charisma outside of their model bodies, move on to the cheap technique of pounding soundtrack blasts, and arrive at the comically clichéd script (including a flirty, sluttily dressed babysitter and an old priest, played by Philip Baker Hall, who's called in to battle the evil). In the only strong setpiece, the family's little girl sends her mom and new dad scrambling up the roof after her. The "Horror" of the title refers to all-too-familiar poltergeists that somehow not only move things around, but make the fixtures bleed, possess people, and pin each other to the ceiling with disembodied arms. The Amityville Horror isn't scary—it's flashy, noisy, and ugly.
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