Our Daily Trailer: THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (1979)

30 days til Halloween! Watch the trailer for the haunted house movie that shocked a nation... to sleep.

I recently rewatched The Amityville Horror and was stunned by what I saw. This film, which was a national sensation, is a tedious, uneventful bore. Based on the supposedly true story of the Lutz family's 29 days in a haunted Long Island home, the film stars James Brolin and Margot Kidder as people who largely sleepwalk through paranormal events. The movie exaggerates some of what the Lutzes went through in order to be more cinematic, so you can only imagine how deeply uninteresting the real story is (many paranormal investigators have expressed surprise that such a low-key haunting got so much widespread attention). 

There are a couple of highlights, and Brolin's sweaty, bug-eyed overacting in the second half is kind of fun, but I was really surprised to revisit this film and find it totally ineffective. I hadn't seen it in years - over a decade maybe? - and my memories were much scarier than the real thing. A modern crowd, brought up on Paranormal Activity movies, would doze off in this clunker. Maybe they'd wake up to laugh at the scene of the priests in a car that is under attack by spirits (they raise the hood).

The sequel, on the other hand...