Did the voices make him do it? Or was it the moviegoing public, clamoring for more cheap and bloody thrills?

The Amityville Horror was a big hit in the mid-70s, a creepy big screen rendition of a somewhat-true story. The headlines that inspired it are still troubling: A young boy murdered his parents and his siblings in their sleep in 1974, and then, a year later, a different family moved into the same house and were driven out by an oppressive spiritual force. But the news wasn't troubling enough, apparently. So a 1977 novel sensationalized these events and inspired a popular movie and a series of lousy sequels.

Since today's popcorn addicts seem to have a limitless capacity to absorb cheap and indulgent horror flicks, filmmakers seem perfectly content to recycle old material. Just a few weeks after the forgettable, disposable Boogeyman, the new and not-at-all-improved Amityville Horror is No. 1 at the box office.

"Those who want nothing more than a thrill ride might get a kick or two out of this film," says Peter T. Chattaway (Christianity Today Movies), "but the rest of us might prefer to hold out for something a little more thoughtful and interesting."

He observes that the "faith elements" of the earlier versions have been left behind. "The new movie is completely uninterested in offering or exploring any sort of subtext. Instead, it offers little more than a stylish exercise in cinematic shock and awe, full of lightning storms and ghosts popping up in mirrors and windows, and lacking anything that might stick with you once the ride is over."

Christopher Lyon (Plugged In) says that the filmmakers "must have decided that they'd need lots more blood, scary images and violence to attract a new audience. And they do pile it on. ...

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