"Houses don't kill people," says George Lutz (Ryan Reynolds) when he hears the gruesome history of his new home. "People kill people." But before you can say 'ideal for first time buyers', the light switches are bleeding, chairs are moving by themselves and George is developing an unhealthy attachment to his hatchet. An efficient, schlocky remake from the guys who disinterred The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror is actually slightly better than its 1979 inspiration.
But then, that's not saying much. The original Amityville is a rubbish horror movie, notable only for Rod Steiger's outrageously hammy priest. Its success was largely due to canny marketing (did it really happen?) and the persistent appetite for downbeat kitchen-sink horror stoked by The Exorcist six years earlier. The film went on to spawn several sequels, one of them in 3D.
The basic "true" story, as pored over by generations of excitable schoolboys, remains the same: attractive family moves into a spooky property only to learn that their home was the site of a brutal massacre. The question is, will history repeat itself?
"LITTLE TIME FOR THE NICETIES OF ATMOSPHERE"
Director Andrew Douglas has little time for the niceties of atmosphere; Amityville 2005 is all about haunting, all the time. If you were to take every scary movie from the last ten years, mix them in a bucket and throw them at a cinema screen, the resulting splash would look a lot like this film. Spooky kids, nervous pets, doomed babysitters... it's all as familiar as a pair of bloodstained slippers.