The Amityville Horror (2005)

(In theaters, April 2005) This so-called “horror” film has a number of problems, but its worst one is that it tries to maintain the pretence of a “real story”. There is, of course, no such real story: the Amityville hoax has been disproved twenty years ago. But in their attempt to make believe an “authentic” haunted house story, the filmmakers end up delivering a dull film that only finds its biggest chills in its most extreme moments. The over-the-top babysitter sequence is one such scene; the last thirty seconds are another. In both cases, you can see evidence of horror mechanics borrowed from Japanese horror. Alas, the rest of the film is boredom put on screen: dumb scenes, tepid writing, slow pacing and bad ideas. Only Ryan Reynolds manages to emerge of the mess with his dignity intact. Sadly, the same can’t be said about the audience, which stays frozen solid in disbelief that they actually paid good money to see such dull stuff.

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