A desperate single mother moves with her three children into the notorious, supposedly haunted, real-life Amityville house to try and use its dark powers to cure her comatose son. Things go ... Read allA desperate single mother moves with her three children into the notorious, supposedly haunted, real-life Amityville house to try and use its dark powers to cure her comatose son. Things go horribly wrong.A desperate single mother moves with her three children into the notorious, supposedly haunted, real-life Amityville house to try and use its dark powers to cure her comatose son. Things go horribly wrong.
After several delays that began 2 and a half years ago, this movie has sort of become a joke in the Hollywood movie industry and everyone has started to wonder how bad this new iteration in the Amityville franchise could actually be.
I managed to see the movie today and while there aren't too many good things to be said about it, it is far from being the worst horror movie that has been put out in theaters. Actually, that's this movie's main problem: a theatrical release. It would've been better off as a straight-to-DVD movie, given its poor technical aspects which bugged me the most.
First off, the movie is a jump-scare fest, which wouldn't have been that much of a problem if the majority of them wouldn't have been fake scares. They were all extremely cheap and failed to land because there was no build-up to any of them. I couldn't even hear ONE scream from the audience I watched the movie with because, though arriving at unexpected moments, the scares turned out as laughable and nonsensical. Now that I think of it, I am having a hard time remembering at least one memorable scare or moment of suspense.
The direction of the movie was completely flat and some truly atrocious editing choices certainly didn't help it. Not only did they take me out of the moment, but they also made certain scenes incomprehensible. What also took me out of some scenes during the big showdown at the end of the movie was the terrible VFX.
Another criticism I have for this movie is its extensive use of dream sequences and visions, which didn't help the plot at all and were completely unnecessary, besides for setting up another random jump- scare.
The score of the movie was supposed to help building tension, but it rather comes out as annoying and somehow manipulative.
The ending of the movie felt abrupt and unsatisfying. Certain scenes that were included in the international trailer a month ago were nowhere to be found in this cut of the movie.
On the other hand, the performances of the actors didn't bother me at all. Bella Thorne's acting is, surprisingly, not wooden at all and she actually gets to show some of her acting skills in a few emotional moments. Most of these are opposite Jennifer Jason Leigh, and the two actresses make the mother-daughter scenes work. A highlight of the movie is Thomas Mann who gets to shine in a few comedic moments as the movie geek friend, although he doesn't get a lot of time in the spotlight.
The movie is at its best when it doesn't try to scare the audience, but perhaps make us weep. My favorite scenes were the ones in which the characters begin to form emotional bonds. Talking about characters, the most complex arcs belong to Belle and her mother, Joan, who have dramatic backstories and real motivations. However, the two friends that Belle makes at her new school are left hanging in the air after a certain a point and are underutilized. Also, Belle's little sister completely disappears from the movie for a good portion of the running time, which leaves me thinking that the screenwriter-director didn't know what to do with her while the main characters were in peril.
Another positive aspect of the movie was its self-awareness of being yet another movie in the Amityville franchise. Some of the characters even agree on the fact that the 2005 remake of the original movie is not worth a watch. However, the movie gets bogged down in the mythology of the past installments in the series, as it so often goes back and tries to recreate certain plot points of the other movies.
Overall, I think this movie is, simply put, bland, utterly forgettable and a poor excuse to bring back the Amityville long-running franchise to a new generation, paling in comparison to this new wave of critically and commercially acclaimed horror movies of the past few years.
- Jul 28, 2017