Movie Review by Neils Hesse
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, Jesse James, Jimmy Bennett
Director: Andrew Douglas
“Houses don’t kill people, people kill people”, utters George Lutz (Ryan Reynolds) to his wife Kathy (Melissa George). Based on an apparently true story that was originally a bestselling book and then a 1979 movie, this time around we have an adrenaline charged remake that goes straight for the jugular.
George, Kathy and her three kids move into a big house in Amityville, Long Island. Unknown to them the former occupants of their perfect house were all brutally murdered by a member of their own family. Just as they begin settling in George starts to have strange dreams and his moods quickly shift from uneasy to down right nasty. Then Kathy’s daughter Chelsea starts to talk about a friend of hers called Jodie (readers of the book will remember this character very well). Even though the Jodie in question cannot be seen by anybody but her she proves to be very sinister and in one particularly scary scene she has Chelsea walking on top of the extremely high roof of the house apparently under her instruction. Father Callaway (Phillip Baker Hall) is called in to investigate but even he proves to be no challenge and is soon literally running back to his car. Kathy takes it upon herself to investigate the weird activities in her house and this brings her to a chilling conclusion that pushes her into realising her time and her family’s might just have run out.
Andrew Douglas has done an excellent job by drastically improving on the original movie. Unlike the recent horror offerings from Hollywood this is almost entirely CGI free relying instead on some good old fashioned trick shots, some great overacting and the house itself – these prove to be all the necessary ingredients for a great horror movie.
Ryan Reynolds is pretty good as the initially wisecracking, easygoing guy who just, no pun intended, turns into a horror. His transformation is sufficiently creepy with one stand out wood chopping scene that should leave you squirming in your seat. Melissa George is equally good as the wife who wants to save her whole family including her psycho husband. Supporting acts from Phillip Baker Hall and all the child actors perfectly suit the calibre and tone of the film. Michael Bay produces with the same interesting visceral style that he used on the remake of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and once again he pulls it off very well.
Not exactly a classic but definitely a scary movie that delivers exactly what it says, so please head down to your cinema but don’t be surprised if you leave all your lights on in your house afterwards, I know I did.