New 'Amityville' Hopes to Scare Up a Crowd

Likely to scare up a sizable crowd into theaters this weekend, "The Amityville Horror" (search) makes its way on to the big screen, again.

Closer to the 1977 book than the 1979 original movie, this remake centers on the believed-to-be true story of a newlywed couple with three kids moving into a house where multiple murders occurred a year earlier and demonic inhabitants still remain.

"I think the only thing that's the same from the [original] movie is the title ... I mean other than that, we just changed everything," star Ryan Reynolds (search), who has been previously seen in "Van Wilder" and is engaged to rocker Alanis Morissette, told FOX News.

"The original movie did not stick close to the book — so I know that Scott Kosar, the writer, drew lot of information from the book and inspiration from the book."

In real life, George and Kathy Lutz (search) moved into what they believed was their dream house in Amityville, in Long Island, N.Y., one year after Ronald DeFeo Jr. (search) murdered his parents and four siblings there in 1974.

The house was built on an 18th-century American Indian burial ground, and DeFeo argued that spirits told him to commit the crime.

According to the book "The Amityville Horror," which author Jay Anson (search) said was a true story, the Lutzes lived in the home for 28 days before abandoning it abruptly. The family maintains the house was haunted, although some have accused them of making up the story for publicity.

The cast of the "Amityville" remake was as frightened during shooting as their characters were in the film.

"The lights turning on in the middle of the night — and the guard was called but nobody was in there. That was a little freaky," star Melissa George (search), who formerly had a role on "Alias," told FOX News.

"Kathy Lutz [the real person] passing away in the first week [of filming] kind of knocked me around a little bit, and then finding a dead body in the lake outside the boathouse also was a bit scary," George added.

Hollywood loves a horror movie, but Associated Press writer David Germain said "Amityville" is even worse than the original.

"This remake does not quite sink to the execrable depths of last year's prequel 'Exorcist: The Beginning,' yet it is the worst of a recent batch of horror updates that include 'Dawn of the Dead' and 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,'" he wrote in his review.

"Director Andrew Douglas, making his feature-film debut after a long career in photography, commercials and music videos, piles on every cheap horror cliche imaginable: Blood gushing from faucets and oozing out of walls; things that go BOOM rather than bump in the night; mystery voices yammering in the duct work; enough apparitions to make ghost extras think about starting their own Hollywood trade guild."

Germain added: "... the acting is a fright all on its own."

"Ryan Reynolds is so over-the-top as the stepfather-turned-ogre by evil spirits possessing his dim little brain, he comes off as a Joan Crawford-like Daddy Dearest for the supernatural set.

"Melissa George is not much better as Kathy Lutz, alternating between bland housewifery and shrill screaming. The Lutz children (Jesse James, Jimmy Bennett and Chloe Grace Moretz) generally are upstaged by manifestations of a dead girl (Isabel Conner) slain in the house. She's not necessarily a better actress; the ghost just has more personality."

But this doesn't mean the movie won't creep up on the box office.

"The original 'The Amityville Horror' from 1979 was a bad movie itself yet became a hit, so the remake certainly could do the same," Germain wrote.

FOX News' Mike Waco and Anita Vogel and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

New York Post review

New York Times' review

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