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Classic horror remake amounts to another formulaic fright fest

Grade: C

Producer Michael Bay revises another well-known thriller, “The Amityville Horror,” with a low budget and rising stars for bigger profit margins.

It is strictly business in the formulaic fright fest, but filmmakers get the job done pretty well.

This fairly predictable update, set in 1974 (one year after the original movie of the same title) features Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George.

George plays a recent widow named Kathy with two sons and a daughter. Reynolds plays George, Kathy’s new love interest, a general construction contractor.

George creates the family dynamic necessary for effective conflicts, but some of his action and dialogue suffers from repetition.

“Houses don’t kill people, people kill people,” George says.

A Toledo native, Philip Baker Hall has a small role as Father Callaway. He seems to be the only outside authority available as police quickly disappear after a prominent beginning.

In the set-up, filmmakers use a documentary-like style to initiate a well fabricated story, which began as a true story, but was later discredited. This style stretches throughout the increasing action, particularly in some home movie footage.

“She’s happy, I’m broke,” George exclaims after Kathy convinces him to purchase the house where life for the family goes awry after 28 days. This 90-minute film maintains a tense pace as the family settles into the infamous house.

This movie also gets a boost from the quality cinematography, editing and a nice musical score from Michael Bay mainstay Steve Jablonsky.

“The Amityville Horror” does offer good scares, especially in sequences of well-edited imagery, leaving a vivid impression on the viewer. You may wonder why no one ever thinks of more logical action, like breaking a few windows.

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