As part of my day off yesterday, I decided to watch the remake of one of my favorite movies The Amityville Horror. Released in 2005, I really wanted to go see this one in the theaters but never got around to it. Since there wasn't a lot to do yesterday I decided it was time to get around to it finally.
For those few of you that don't know about the story behind the movie I will fill you in, and for the rest lets just use this as a reminder. In The Amityville Horror we meet George and Kathy Lutz (Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George). They are out looking for a new home when they find one in the town of Amityville. It is a big and beautiful house that would be out of their price range, but they discover the house is being sold very cheaply. There is a catch however. A year has gone by since Ronald DeFoe murdered his entire family late one night. Ronald claimed that voices told him to kill. This creeps the Lutz's out some but as George says, "People kill people, not houses." That is true but they forgot about evil spirits that might be in the house.
By the way, this movie is based on a true story. So they say anyway. Ronald DeFoe really did kill his family in 1974, and the Lutz's really did buy the house a year later. The Lutz's stayed in the house for 28 days, and then they ran from the house, never to reclaim it or anything in it. What happened to them in the house is still being debated. But their story became a best selling book in 1977 and also became a movie in 1979.
Right from the start you will be able to tell this is a much darker movie. I have to admit that the effects in the 1979 movie are rather cheesy now, maybe they were even back then. But they managed to scare me all the same. What really got to me in the 1979 version was the overall feel of the movie. The 2005 version also has this feel to it, so I was happy they managed to capture that. The effects, while much better, are very different than those you will find in the 1979 movie. We see a lot of ghosts in this version, mostly the ghost of Jodie Defoe (Isabel Conner), the youngest daughter of the Defoe family. The ghosts are felt more than they are seen by the Lutz's. Jodie only shows herself to the Lutz's daughter Chelsea (Chloe Mortez) and to the babysitter, Lisa (Rachel Nichols).
The lore behind the cause of the haunting is very different in the 2005 version. In the 1979 movie, the Lutz's discover some kind of well that is supposed to act as a sort of gateway to hell. In the 2005 movie, a sanctuary was supposed to have been build on the land in 1671, in which "the Reverend Ketcham advocated extraordinarily cruel and outlandish methods of torture" on supposed witches. All this was found in a book in the library that Kathy goes to. She also finds news articles saying that Ronald killed his family after 28 days of living there.
One of the complaints I heard about was when George finds a large room behind one of the walls in the basement. I could be wrong but this is my take on it: we first see George ripping away some boards and find a small room behind them. This was the room he finds. Next we see him start pounding on the blocks of the wall with a sledge hammer and he finds a larger room behind that. That was just all in his mind. I don't think he actually found a larger room, but the spirits of the house were showing him the history of the house. The scene that probably gave me the most shivers had no effects in it whatsoever. Kathy asks a priest to come over to bless the house. He meets Chelsea and sees she is holding a teddy bear. He asks Kathy where the teddy bear came from, and she tells him they found it in the house. The priest tells Kathy that it was Jodie's favorite teddy bear. But there is a problem with her finding it in the house since the bear was buried with Jodie.
While some of the effects seemed out of place at times, over all I really enjoyed them. The acting was great in this movie and really added to the overall feel of things. The house has been changed a lot in this movie. If you have seen a picture of the real house then you will know what I mean. One thing I really enjoyed over the first movie was how George slipped more and more into the madness that the spirits were trying to place into him, in order to kill his family. The 1979 movie hinted at this but didn't carry it out for the most part. It came close but I felt it fell short. The 2005 movie goes the extra mile to show us he is in that same state of mind that Defoe was in. While some people didn't like that, because it reminded them too much of Jack Nicholson in The Shining, I rather enjoyed it and it really helped put more of a scare into me because of that. This movie is hardly perfect. For that matter, Maniac wasn't perfect either and I gave it a better rating than this movie. No movie ever will be, but if you let the small things get in the way of your enjoyment of the movie then you will never enjoy a movie no matter how good it truly is.
4 out of 5 Evil Spirits
So what did really happen to the Lutz's? I'm no expert on the subject. For the most part I have only watched the movies and have done a little reading on the web about it. George Lutz still says that the events are true, just over blown now. Some say they made up the whole story in order to get out of a morgage they couldn't pay. That makes sense but the one that made more sense is that the lawyer for Ronald DeFoe came up with the plan for the story to add credince to the story that Ronald heard voices and that the evil spirit controled him durring the murders. If this could be shown to be true then maybe Ronald could get a new trial.
1 day ago