Amityville Horror [1979]

Most horror movies establish an atmosphere of normalcy, which they gradually rupture with spooky or creepy or stomach-churning images. The Amityville Horror--a remake of the 1979 movie about a possessed house that torments the family that moves into it--tosses normalcy out the window in the first five minutes, unleashing a nonstop barrage of unsettling camera angles, decaying wood and stained wallpaper, half-glimpsed shadows in motion, fast edits of grotesque ghosts, and dozens of other horror-movie devices. Whether you like the movie will depend on whether you like feeling slightly nauseated and cut off from any semblance of reality--for many people, that's why they go to horror movies. Others won't be able to suspend disbelief that anyone but an actor would spend the time necessary to develop Ryan Reynold's insanely buff physique, prominently displayed as he runs around wearing nothing but a pair of loose-fitting pajama bottoms. In addition to Reynolds (Van Wilder, Blade: Trinity), the movie also features Philip Baker Hall (Magnolia) and Melissa George (Down With Love). --Bret Fetzer

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