The Amityville Horror

Release Date: April 15, 2005

Movie of the Day for Wednesday, November 17, 2004
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I know, my child. It's never easy being kicked off of Alias

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Position Staff In Brief
81/85 Kim Hollis An exercise in stupidity. When a horror film is boring, you know it's gone terribly wrong.
139/166 David Mumpower Treehouse of Horror episodes have rendered it impossible to take this movie concept seriously.

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On a dark, troubled night in fall of 1974, the DeFeo family - Ron Sr., his wife Louise, his sons Ron Jr., Mark and John, and their daughters Dawn and Allison, were supposedly sleeping quite peacefully in their charming, three-story, Dutch colonial home in small-town Amityville, New York. In moments, the cozy silence was shattered as Ron Jr. murdered his entire family with a high-powered rifle as they slept.

After being arrested for the heinous crime, DeFeo blamed the events on a malevolent spirit that had manifested itself in the house. He said that the creature had been speaking to him and controlled him as he committed the massacre. To the surprise of no one, he pled insanity at his trial, but the jury didn't buy it. The prosecutor's claim that the young man was hoping to cash in on his family's insurance policies was too powerful, and they convicted him of six counts of first degree murder. DeFeo was sentenced to 150 years in prison.

Fast forward to December of 1975, when George and Kathy Lutz purchased the home and moved their family in. The couple claimed that from almost the moment they moved in, they heard strange noises that seemed to have no source. Locked windows and doors would somehow open and close on their own. George claimed to be persecuted by a relentless brass band that would march throughout the house. And when a priest entered the house to exorcise it, a disembodied voice told him to "get out."

Things only got worse after the exorcism-gone-awry. The noises got worse, an evil-looking creature could be seen outside the windows, green slime oozed out of the walls and ceiling, and George himself claimed to be possessed. Strange apparitions and odors appeared from nowhere, and the youngest child in the family was seemingly in contact with an invisible, devilish pig called Jodie.

The Lutz family managed to stay in the home all of 28 days before leaving the home. Pretty quickly thereafter, New York's Channel 5 news team was on hand to cover the story, filming a seance performed by Ed and Lorraine Warren, two of the most famous "demonologists" in the country.

Soon after these events, George and Kathy Lutz teamed up with writer Jay Anson to tell their story. The result was a best-selling novel called The Amityville Horror. A remarkably bad movie and a number of even more horrid sequels followed. The story was popular, though, because it was purportedly true.

In the end, though, the story was discredited by paranormal investigator Dr. Stephen Kaplan. Oddly, all of the evidence he presented to prove his case was largely ignored by the public, who apparently wanted to go on believing the grim fairy tale that had become so infamous. The story remains shrouded in an aura of mystery and excitement, so it's really no surprise that Michael Bay and several producing partners have chosen to remake the story in the image of the 21st century. The film will the underrated Ryan Reynolds and the gorgeous Melissa George as the Lutzes. Haunted house stories are somewhat few and far between these days in the movies, so it might be a welcome change of pace - even if the real-life events that inspired it were a hoax. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Amityville Horror
Main Cast Ryan Reynolds, Jimmy Bennett, Melissa George
Supporting Cast Philip Baker Hall, Jesse James, Chloe Moretz
Director Andrew Douglas
Screenwriter Scott Kosar
Distributor MGM
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating R
Running Time 86 minutes
Screen Count 3,323
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for The Amityville Horror
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Grudge, The 10/22/0439.13 39.13 3245 12058.16 12058.2 110.18 110.18 0.00
Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The 10/17/0328.09 28.09 3016 9315.00 9315.0 80.15 80.15 0.00
Darkness 12/24/046.16 6.16 1700 3625.47 3625.5 22.16 22.16 0.00
Wrong Turn 5/30/035.16 5.16 1615 3164.00 3164.0 15.42 15.42 2.99



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