Monday, June 29, 2009

Amityville Horror Remake Review

In my repertoire of random fragments of movies that float around in my mind, leftover from childhood, I remembered the name "Amityville Horror". I couldn't really remember the movie at all, so I decided I should watch it. I mosied on down to one of the various pawn stores hoping to find it, but not really expecting to...and there it was (in the 3 for $10 section - woohoo)!

I rushed home and popped it in the DVD player. Or maybe not. Maybe I actually went and did some grocery shopping or something. Who knows? At any rate, after I managed to get home, I popped it in the DVD player and waited with slightly bated breath. After waiting for what may have been a nanosecond, I went to get food and a drink. By the time I returned, it was to the selection screen.

As the movie started, my initial thought was that the only thing that looked even vaguely familiar about this movie was the house. A man wakes up at 3:15 a.m., grabs a shotgun and proceeds to blow his family's brains out one at a time. It's loud, and I realize that these folks must be related to my family. That is the only explanation for why only one little girl wakes up before they are shot. The name of the little girl in question appears to be Jodi...I make note of this for future reference.

Flash forward. A man and a woman drive into a ritzy neighborhood, apparently house hunting. They stop at what we now know is the Amityville house. There is much gushing, then they determine that they will be able to afford the house. The man does not want the house, but the woman very much does. We all know how that argument ended.

Three children are introduced, and we discover that one parent is a step-parent. A video camera appears out of nowhere to record touching moments for later use as heart-wrenching scenes. Mother is very excited and I predict later rewards of sex for the man. It seems that he does too.

In the next important scene, the man discovers an alarm clock in the basement. The clock is stopped at 3:15. Our ominous bones begin tingling now, and my Yoohoo is gone. I want more, but the movie has its grasp on me, and will not let me go.

Now the man is rewarded with the predicted sex. The woman is a man's fantasy woman, waking him up with groping hands and mounting him. Imagine his surprise when, in the throes of passion, he starts seeing dead children over her shoulder. At the point, he clearly believes that he is hallucinating. Therefore, because he clearly does not have an open relationship with his wife, he refuses to tell her of his vision when she asks what's wrong.

In the clear light of day, the woman is working in the kitchen. She looks over at the refrigerator and sees refrigerator magnets arranged to read something like "catch them, kill them". As you can imagine, this disturbs her and she goes to find the man. However, when she looks again at the refrigerator, the letters are scrambled. Again, the less than solid relationship results in silence about the "hallucination".

Somewhere during this area, the man removes his shirt to chop wood, and my jaw drops. Wow! His chest is unbelievable! He's so buff that he looks like a comic book character. Who would have thought? At this point, I think I wouldn't want to tangle with him.

A babysitter comes to watch the children. She had apparently babysat for the people who were massacred as well. She tells the children what happened to the last family in the house so that she can freak them out and impress the 12-year-old boy who is drooling over her half-naked body. At some point, she manages to piss the ghost of Jodi off. She gets locked into the closet and bad things happen.

The man begins behaving strangely and the woman begins to believe that the house is evil. She discovers that the history of the house includes a psycho who murdered his entire family because he thought he heard voices. We discover that the psycho had killed the family dog a few days before he killed the family. To her credit, the real estate agent who sold them the house had told them about the massacre. They just chose to ignore it...

Moving onward, the man accidentally kills the family dog in the boathouse. It's a reasonable mistake, since he thought it was a demon attacking him. After all, who wouldn't? However, since he's pretty sure he's crazy, he decides not to tell anyone about the little mishap. Nor is he interested in going to counseling for help.

The woman doesn't have these qualms about going for help though. She runs off and finds a preacher to come check out the house. Sadly, the preacher also happens to be a coward who runs away in terror when bugs fly at him in the house. He refuses to come back and help them. However, he does give her the excellent advice to get out of the house.

Meanwhile, unfortunately, the man has discovered the entryway into the hidden rooms in the house where, apparently, a psycho religious fellow had killed a bunch of native americans when the house was fairly new. The fellow religious nut killed himself afterward, in the belief that his spirit would remain in the house, or some such. Our step-father man discovers the religious nut in one of these hidden rooms, and things aren't pretty.

The woman returns to remove her family and the man tries to kill her. Much chasing occurs, during which the ghost of the little girl from the first (Jodi) opens a window so that the family can escape onto the roof. They do so, but then climb down. The man, who has fallen off the roof while pursuing them, was fortunate to land in mud so that he is not injured. He goes after the woman, who knocks him to the ground with a shotgun but refuses to kill him. The man has a moment of clarity and see that if she does not kill him, he will kill her. So she hits him in the head and knocks him out.

The family drags the man into the boathouse, loads him into the boat, and drives away. After they get out on the lake, the man wakes up. He appears to have left the possessed state behind and is his old cheerful self again. Now, we see the ghost of Jodi in the house. She looks sad. Then she disappars into the floor. I think wow, really good acting and graphics for the 80's!

It is only afterward that I discover that the movie that I watched is not the one that I saw as a child. This one is the remake. Also, the original was not from the 80's; it was from the 70's. I also discover that the actor who played the step-father had just come from playing in the movie Blade: Trinity. Well, that explains some things....