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‘The Amityville Horror’ Is the Only Time Ryan Reynolds Isn’t Playing Himself

I don’t have to see his new film ‘Red Notice’ to tell you he’s gonna play Ryan Reynolds. But there is one movie in which the exhaustingly average everyman gives us range

There’s a new Ryan Reynolds movie called Red Notice coming to Netflix next week. I can’t tell you what it’s about — and I’ll almost certainly never see it — but I feel confident in one thing: Reynolds is going to play himself. 

He always does. His entire filmography has been defined by likable, smartass-style roles, most of which barely differ from his off-camera personality (or at least the one he shows to the public). He seems like a nice guy, talking to journalists about how much he loves “being a girl dad” and playing little pranks on his wife Blake Lively through social media. He’s positioned himself as the imperfect everyman, affable and quick-witted; relatable, yet aspirational. This is the type of guy he always plays, whether he be the young assistant forced to fake-date his boss in The Proposal or the charmingly sarcastic mercenary superhero in Deadpool.

That said, there is one film where Ryan Reynolds is more than just Ryan Reynolds. I’m talking, of course, about 2005’s not-very-good ghost movie, The Amityville Horror.

The Amityville Horror is a remake of the 1979 film of the same name, which is based on a book by Jay Anson published the year prior. The book tells the story of the paranormal experiences of a real family who moved into a home in Amityville, Long Island, where a brutal murder took place. In November 1974, Ronald DeFeo, Jr., killed his four siblings and both parents inside the home, leaving what appeared to be a ghostly stain on the property. Ever since, the house was said to be extremely haunted. 

In the film, Reynolds plays George Lutz, the new stepfather of a family who just moved into the large, old house. Ordinarily, they’d never be able to afford it, but it just so happens to be priced well under market value for the neighborhood. In addition to being a handyman special, the real-estate agent tells them, it’s also because a whole family was butchered there. Still, they decide to move in. 

Almost immediately, George’s temperment and health begin to decline. His eyes become increasingly dark and bloodshot, and eventually, he almost murders his family. For some reason, George also just has to take his shirt off once or twice in his little low-rise pajama shorts, revealing a perfectly chiseled body. As the film progresses, George becomes increasingly convinced that despite the freaky occurrences, they have to stay in the house. They sunk all of their savings into it and he’s not backing down, even though it’s turning him into a demon. It’s basically a real-estate movie

What makes it stand out, though, is that it’s really the only Reynolds film where he’s portrayed as the villain (though one could argue that he’s been a villain in every movie for introducing his shtick to the world). That said, he’s also somewhat of the victim here, clearly possessed by some evil spirit that only visibly infects his eyes. 

It’s often joked that Reynolds is the ideal version of what men and Hollywood think women find attractive, when in reality he’s the walking embodiment of face blindness — he’s just so nondescript! I genuinely couldn’t describe his features if I tried. 

Still, you could argue that he’s sorta hot in Amityville Horror. He’s unkempt, with longer, shaggier hair than usual, and his progressively darker, bloodshot eyes are vaguely charming. At minimum, him being the bad guy — and not in a lovable asshole kind of way — is refreshing. It’s almost as if the hot thing is him trying something new. 

The Amityville Horror is a bad movie, but it’s a welcome reminder of the tender time when Reynolds was more than just a sarcastic, conventionally attractive guy. Instead, he was once an actor who had to do shitty, mid-budget horror movie remakes, and you know what? I like him better for it. 

You still won’t get me to watch Red Notice, though.

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