Movie Review: The Amityville Horror (1979)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1979 thriller starring Margot Kidder and James Brolin.

Synopsis: Despite knowing about its sinister past, a newlywed husband decides to purchase a large house and move into it with his new wife and her two children. Shortly after moving in, however, he begins to act strangely and, before too long, it becomes apparent there is something evil in the house with them.

Who's In It?

Review

My wife and I were both feeling under the weather on Saturday (I'm not sure if we caught the same bug or if it was something we ate) and ended up spending a good chunk of our day watching movies. This included The Amityville Horror.

I must confess, even though I've seen bits and pieces of this movie, I think Saturday was the first time I actually took the time to watch it in its entirety. And, when I did, I found I had some high expectations about it. However, as it turns out, while it wasn't a bad movie, I don't think it was as good as I was expecting it to be.

I'll start out by saying Brolin does an excellent job as George Lutz, pulling off the loving but possessed husband/step father. When his character is on edge, it is very believable and, because of that, there were some scenes when I wondered if he was going to snap and do something horrific.

The problem I had with this movie is, despite Brolin's performance, the film was actually kind of weak as far as thrillers go. There's a lot of build-up throughout the film. But, it never reached a point where I felt like I needed to be on the edge of my seat.

In fact, other than a very short moment where it looked like George was going to go on a killing spree, the bulk of the movie was about him being obsessed with keeping the fire going because he was cold. As I jokingly told my wife, it was like watching a male version of her.

I also wasn't a huge fan of the ending, mostly because it seemed kind of fake. In a movie like this, less is actually more. We don't necessarily need to see the evil presence to know it exists, the various characters and, of course, ominous music can clue us in on that. Once the writers took things a little too far by having basement floors open up, bleeding walls, etc., it became much harder to believe the story they were telling and, because of that, the movie never truly becomes as scary as I was expecting.

Final Opinion

James Brolin is worth watching. But, without him, this movie is actually kind of average and very forgettable.

My Grade: C

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Updated: 01/23/2017, StevenHelmer
 
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frankbeswick on 01/24/2017

Yes, I suspected that it was a scam!

dustytoes on 01/24/2017

I recently watched a show about the story of the real Lutz family, and it was quite eye-opening. It seems this was all a scam to get people to believe the house was haunted so people could make money.

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