Monday, April 25, 2005

The Good, the Bad and the Fugly

Last week I wasted $23. Yes, I went to see the new Amityville Horror. My reason for going was 3-fold: 1) I love the original and was interested in the "remake," which I'd heard was closer to the book and whose trailer looked promising. 2) Ryan Reynolds looks fuckin' HOT in it. 3) My friend Nathan, who I rarely see, asked me to go.

So, we know going into the movie that today's "remakes" are generally anything but, since the majority of them consider themselves "re-imaginings" and are just cashing in on name-recognition. I don't really have a problem with remakes as much as I have a problem with some of these so-called remakes having almost no resemblance to the original, yet still , like I pointed out earlier, cashing in on name recognition, which I think is a pretty chickenshit thing to do. The message I'm trying to convey is this: Though I may love the original version of something (The Big Sleep, Psycho, etc.) I'm not married to it and am open to other interpretations, providing the cast, etc. looks interesting to me.

With that said, we settled in for 25 minutes of fuckin' Coke, video game and car commercials. After the trailers, the movie began. Within the first 5 minutes, we both looked over at each other and rolled our eyes, because we've seen enough movies to know what the new directors consider "cool" editing. You know, that fast editing-static-frame jumping-crackly-sped up movement-"technique" that so many movies (most notably horror) pass off these days as "edgy." So the movie starts out with "Based on a true story" (trying to compete with the mysterious success of the Texas Chainsaw remake) and all these clips of newspaper articles, faux archival news footage, etc. YAWN. A little goes a lonnnnnnnnnng way.

I guess I should give you a quick synopsis, just in case you are not familiar with either film: George & Kathy Lutz and Kathy's 3 children are moving into an elegant Long Island home. What they don't know is that 5 savage murders were committed there the year before - Ronald DeFeo Jr., son of a wealthy car dealer, murdered his parents, brothers & sister by shooting them with a rifle in November 1974. No sooner are the Lutzes moved into the house than they begin to experience horrible things.

So, we haven't completely written the movie off yet, we're a little more forgiving than that. We're still open to the movie's possibility. Then the first big laugh (from both of us) comes when we see the fuckin' troglodyte they cast as the youngest son, Michael Lutz (AKA "Jimmy Bennett"). Fuckin' FA-REEK! WOW. You will just never know how fuckin' goofy this little bastard looks. The picture I included here is nowhere near as eye-gougingly-awful as seeing him on the big screen. Seriously. When he first appears on the screen, we both died laughing. He looks seriously retarded. Like a duck with gingivitis and bucked teeth. He's seriously the scariest fuckin' thing in the entire movie.

Instead of rehashing the entire film, I'll just highlight what went SO wrong with the movie:

1) Ryan Reynolds, though HOT is horribly miscast and not convincing as a madman. Beard or not, he lacks the masculinity needed to pull off the menacing/threatening character of George Lutz. He's way too good-looking and muscular/defined for a character that is supposed to exist in the 70's. Overuse of the whole "Visine gets he red out"-bloodshot eyes contact lenses. Yeah, we get it. Put the ton of bricks away already.

2) There is no sense of eerie atmosphere established before/during/after the scenes of "horror" begin to kick in. And when they do kick in they are too soon into the film, often brief and "trendily"-edited (you know, that loud, 'startling' music cue with a brief shot of something 'horrific' reflected in the mirror, flashed across the screen, etc.). This technique prevails throughout the entire film and is used to the point of overkill. Obviously the director has watched NIN's 'Closer' video way too many times. Cheap, generic "scares" consisting of sudden loud music cues and/or sounds, equivalent to the ol' stray cat jumping out at you.

3) The "climactic" scene towards the end when Ryan Reynold's character, George Lutz, chops down the basement wall and discovers some sort of ancient torture chamber (in lieu of the original film's 'doorway to Hell,' which was more effective), complete with more "shocking" fast-paced, sped-up, 'gory' imagery, comes out of nowhere. And when it is explained, it's done too quickly, shoddily and WAY too over-the-top to be remotely plausible.

All in all, me no likee, though I've seen worse. Proof that some things are better left alone. Though, I will admit I'll probably buy it for Ryan, alone. It'll have to be cheap though. And also so that I can do a screen capture of that backwoods freak Jimmy Bennett, and show you just how freakishly distracting he truly is. And for those out there who may find him adorable or precious, you can have him. A shaved babboon's ass with googly eyes glued on it would be more appealing. Goddamn.

So, stick to the original. It may be "old school," but it was a much better film, complete with believable characters, solid plot development, genuine chills and a better music score. All that and it doesn't rely on hokey scares or played out editing trends.


Blogger Cheeky Prof said...

You know, I was afraid this movie would suck. I think I'll hold off until I cant rent it for $3.00. Thanks for the review.

Monday, April 25, 2005 7:52:00 AM  
Blogger Mariana said...

Did you know Ryan Reynolds is dating Alanis Morrisete?

Monday, April 25, 2005 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Kirkkitsch said...

I wish I had been more afraid, maybe I wouldn't be out $23. Lol! Trust me, the only thing scary about this movie was the fact that I blew $23 on a $3 rental. Oy. I'm glad you found my review helpful!

No! I had no idea he was dating her. That lucky, sulky girl! He needs kisses.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 11:15:00 AM  

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