Movie: The Amityville Horror

Our Rating: 2.50

In which we learn what remaining scares can be extracted from a spectral scenario that's been (pardon the pun) done to death for two decades now. This latest visualization of the Lutz family's poltergeist scam necessarily ups its shock factor – I think I caught the walls of the infamous Long Island house bleeding within the first 15 minutes, and that used to be the climax of the act – yet the best passages are the ones that don't rely expressly on effects: A tense rooftop walk takes knowing aim at the anxieties of parents, acrophobics and especially acrophobic parents. Elsewhere, Jodi the red-eyed pig has become a ghostly little girl, for no other discernible reason than to underline how similar the two genuses are, especially around suppertime. Despite the remake's flashes of B-picture integrity, anyone over the age of 40 will find it largely redundant, and anyone younger will wonder why Hollywood felt the need to rip off The Shining, that lousy TV miniseries of a few seasons back.

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