Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Amityville Haunting (2011)

A reviewer at Dread Central said "a part of me wonders if the only reason The Amityville Haunting even exists is because someone made a bet that they could dethrone Amityville 3D for the title of worst 'Amityville' movie of all time".

Bear that in mind when I tell you that this film is superior to Anneliese: The Exorcist Tapes.  Both films are utterly unconvincing "found footage" affairs, but in this one the acting's a little less dire, the script significantly less dull - not good in anyway you understand, but gonzo enough to deliver a few moments of amusement - and there's not that whole bad taste element of making the victim into the monster, as was done in Anneliese.

In case you've been living under a rock for the past forty years, the whole Amityville thing started in 1974 when Ronald DeFeo Jr shot and killed his family.  Probably, anyway.  DeFeo initially blamed a hit man, then confessed to all the killings, and has offered several other versions of events in the years since (generally blaming his sister Dawn for a lot of the deaths).  The first people to move into the house after the killings left it after only 28 days, claiming they had been terrorised by paranormal phenomena.

Although no-one else who has subsequently lived in the house has noticed anything unusual, the whole thing has led to the production of no less than seventeen supernaturally-themed films as of the time of writing (this movie was the ninth).

So basically the premise of the film is that a family moves into the house, and "spooky" stuff ensues.  Some of this spooky stuff seems to involve the ghostly presence of Ronald DeFeo Jr, which seems a bit odd since he isn't dead, but like I said - the script is kind of goofy.  For instance, the father's behaviour throughout comes across as somewhat imbalanced.  I get the feeling the writers may have been aiming for the idea that he's a traumatised veteran; certainly he talks almost entirely in military terminology; but they appear to have overlooked the need to actually establish this fact about the character at any point.

I got some unintentional amusement out of The Amityville Haunting, but as an actual scary movie, it's definitely a failure.

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