Out of all possible film subgenres, the horror movie remake is almost certainly the least promising. History has shown that two approaches traditionally work, or, given the context, work as well as can reasonably be expected. First, the filmmakers might stylize the thing within an inch of its life, guaranteeing a solid visual — if not intellectual — appeal. Alternatively, it sometimes proves a worthwhile gambit, a la the “Scream” trilogy, to appear to be in on the grand joke that is the modern scare flick. However, this year’s reanimation of 1979’s “The Amityville Horror” posits the following: what happens when you do neither?

Allegedly based on “the true story” (though that itself was debunked as a hoax around the time of the original film’s release), the plot follows the trials endured by the Lutz family, a lower-middle-class clan who stumble upon what appears to be the house of their dreams offered at a low, low price. The catch? Some guy killed his entire family in there the year before. While George, the family’s newly installed patriarch (“Van Wilder” star Ryan Reynolds), ponders this stumbling block for at least 40 seconds, it isn’t every day that a near-mansion is pushed down into a common contractor’s price bracket, so in they move.

Alas, even the most casual student of this kind of film has already guessed where events are headed. Evidently influenced by the house itself, the formerly amiable George rapidly devolves into an erratic, rage-filled mess, and the youngest child (who, of course, is the only one who can, uh, see dead people) takes up the previous occupants’ murdered daughter as an invisible friend. Familial relations eventually dissolve to the point where George intends to ritualistically execute his wife and three stepchildren (not that a man who’s worked that hard for that set of abs should realistically have to marry a woman with that kind of baggage, but I digress), though his killing competence ain’t what it could be.

The most convenient historical perspective to take here would to see this as an extremely low-rent version of “The Shining,” though comparing “The Amityville Horror” to Stanley Kubrick’s genuinely frightening masterpiece of balance between the subtle and the grotesque seems inaccurate and in a certain way, obscene. However, it’s difficult not to line the movies up against each other; there’s only so much one can do with the concept of an abode so pervaded with the evil of native American slaughter that the current man of the house is driven to re-enact murders of yesteryear. Then again, original ideas tend to be overvalued; if the execution is there, it doesn’t matter where the abstraction came from, does it? Theoretically.

The movie was directed by Andrew Douglas, a newcomer for whom this project undoubtedly looked like a double-edged sword. If you want to prove yourself in the directorial world, it requires a bold move or two, and tragically, “The Amityville Horror” makes none. We may never know if studio pressures forced his hand, but Douglas plays the premise absolutely straight, loading the short runtime with what feels like every garden-variety horror convention known to man. I picture a checklist: bleeding walls, creepy little girl, deadly bathtub, slutty babysitter, evil stepdad, ominous shadows that sprint through the frame.

Did nobody notice? I have to believe that someone, somewhere along the line realized that they were just cobbling together so many threadbare devices. Perhaps the producers didn’t know (or, more likely, care), and it’s somewhat plausible that it slid under the director’s radar (because, after all, wouldn’t he at least have had fun with the clichés?), but I can’t shake the notion that this could have been prevented if someone in the chain of command — a supporting cast member, a script supervisor, a key grip, anyone — pointed out that, hey, someone’s precious creative lifeblood is going to waste here.

“The Amityville Horror” is not a bad movie as the term “bad movie” is typically understood. What it is, is very, very bland. No stoned college students will view this film in order to milk any kind of so-bad-it’s-good irony, just as no grade-schoolers will watch in hopes of being scared out of their wits. It’s not amateurish enough to be intriguing and not slick enough to be impressive; it exists in a sort of overcrowded horror limbo, unfit for the either kitsch trash can or clandestine midnight screenings. While I grant that it is probably the finest “Amityville” film in existence, we’re talking about a franchise that has begotten both a 3-D and a time travel movie. At least those were kind of funny.