Director Andrew Douglas piles on every cheap horror cliche imaginable in this remake of the 1979 hit, the story of a real-life family that claimed they were chased out of their new home – the site of a mass murder a year earlier – by evil spirits.

The acting is a fright all its own, provoking unintentional laughs that quash what few scares the movie might have held. Ryan Reynolds is so over-the-top as a demonically possessed stepfather, he comes off as a Joan Crawford-like Daddy Dearest for the supernatural set. As his wife, Melissa George is not much better, alternating between bland housewifery and shrill screaming. The filmmakers never try to let the story build, instead going for moviegoers’ jugulars from the start with a frenzy of nightmarish visions. Rated: R for violence, disturbing images, language, sexuality and drug use. Rating: 1 out of 4 stars.

– David Germain, AP movie writer

‘Fever Pitch’

Peter and Bobby Farrelly jettison the gross-out gags and freak-show humor with this warmhearted tale of a career woman in love with a dementedly devoted Boston Red Sox fan. Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon click sweetly as the couple whose romance heads into foul territory over his sports fixation (the movie was adapted from Nick Hornby’s memoir about his obsession for soccer).

The Farrellys nicely incorporate the sights and sounds of a town reveling in their team and bemoaning their fate as fans of one of the unluckiest franchises in sports. The filmmakers retooled the story as the Red Sox actually started winning and took their first World Series since 1918, a fairy-tale ending that would have been dismissed as Hollywood fluff if it had not really happened. Rated: PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, and some sensuality. Rating: 3 out of 4 stars.

– David Germain, AP movie writer

“Sahara” – Jammed with more stuff – characters, plot lines, sight gags, explosions, buddy banter and the romantic flutter of gorgeous people falling in love – than there are grains of sand in the desert. It’s an overlong (if occasionally thrilling) environmentally conscious retread of an Indiana Jones flick, complete with a character who’s overly attached to his hat. But mainly it’s a popcorn movie that’s crammed with eye candy. Matthew McConaughey is all charm but little heft as Dirk Pitt, the explorer hero of the Clive Cussler novel on which the movie is based. Steve Zahn plays the wisecracking best friend with whom he’s searching for a long-lost Civil War battleship, and Penelope Cruz looks like she just stepped from one of her Ralph Lauren ads, even though she plays a doctor searching for the source of a mysterious plague in the unforgiving West African terrain. PG-13 for action violence. 124 min. Two stars out of four.

– Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic


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