The Amityville Horror appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. While the image showed its age, it usually looked pretty good.
Sharpness was okay. Some of this reflected the original photography, which I suspect never rendered a particularly detailed image. I thought matters usually seemed acceptably concise and distinctive, but wider shots took on a moderately soft tone. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, but I did see some mild edge haloes at times. Grain seemed natural, so I didn’t detect any obvious noise reduction, and source defects were mild; I saw a couple of small specks but nothing more egregious.
The film's palette seemed fairly subdued but was generally nicely-saturated. Within the visual design, the colors appeared appropriate and clear. Black levels were a little soft and mushy, and contrast appeared a little overly dark at times. This affected shadow detail, which came across as acceptably visible but not as clear as I'd like. None of these issues created big concerns, though – and many reflected the 34-year-old source – so this ended up as a perfectly watchable “B” presentation.
I felt no qualms when I decided to give a “B+” to the surprisingly effective DTS-HD MA- 5.1 soundtrack of The Amityville Horror. Remixed from the original monaural audio - which also appears on the disc - the 5.1 edition gave us a broad and natural soundscape.
The track used the sides to present a lot of good atmospheric information, and the surrounds kicked in with a fair amount of material as well. These added a lot to the movie’s attempted chills. From a thunderstorm at the beginning of the flick to gunfire and other aggressive sequences, the track put elements in their proper places and blended them well.
Music showed nice stereo delineation as well, and the entire package was involving. Matters occasionally tended toward the “speaker-specific” side of the street, but not as prominently as I’d expect. We even got some good stereo surround usage, with a few elements that popped up in particular rear speakers.
When I accounted for its age, the quality of the audio was also pleasing. Speech lacked much edginess and consistently sounded natural and distinctive. A few louder lines became a bit rough, but they were well within the realm of acceptability, and intelligibility remained good.
Music needed a little more range but was still quite satisfying for something from 1979, as the score usually sounded smooth and full. Effects failed to present much distortion. Those elements were usually nicely concise and accurate, and they packed a good punch in the louder sequences. All in all, the 5.1 mix of Amityville was a winner.
How did the Blu-ray compare with those of the prior Special Edition DVD from 2005? Audio was fairly similar, though the lossless mix offered a bit more heft. Visuals showed the more obvious improvements, as the Blu-ray seemed cleaner and more distinctive.
The Blu-ray drops virtually all of the extras from the 2005 DVD. In addition to the trailer for Amityville, we get promos for Species and The Terminator - and that’s it.
The Amityville Horror is nothing more than a silly trifle. It may have spooked me 34 years ago, but it can't muster even a minor chill now, and most of the film just seems goofy and overwrought. The Blu-ray provides pleasing picture and audio but lacks bonus materials. It’s a shame the Blu-ray drops the prior DVD’s extras, but this remains the best presentation of the film itself.
To rate this film, visit the Special Edition review of THE AMITYVILLE HORROR