starring Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, Jesse James, Jimmy Bennett
screenplay by Scott Kosar, based on the novel by Jay Anson and the screenplay by Sandy Stern
directed by Andrew Douglas
by Walter Chaw When filmmakers leave nothing to the imagination, you're left with the product of their imaginations, which almost without exception is an arid thing born of equal parts imitation and an eye to the bottom line. Innovation is frowned upon when it comes to big-budget horror (terms that mix together uneasily at best), leaving whatever was subversive about the premise to get blunted by this need to rake in a lot of money from a timid public looking for a rollercoaster instead of sociology. So it is with the latest instalment in the worst horror franchise in history, a remake of The Amityville Horror directed by commercial hack Andrew Douglas (who at least seems self-aware in interviews) that professes to be "truer" to the "true"* source material--meaning, essentially, that no one is going to die and that it's going to be poorly written. (I snuck a peak at the 1979 film when I was in the care of a horrible babysitter, only to experience one of my earliest instances of realizing that something sucked.) It tacks on some crap about the house in question being built on the site of an old Indian mental hospital/Abu Ghraib, replacing the innocuous little red room of the original film with a chamber of flash-edited horrors à la Thir13en Ghosts. In so doing, it introduces a little flaccid White Man's Guilt subtext into this Wonder Bread wonderland that it studiously refuses to examine.