Friday, October 12, 2012

The Amityville Trilogy

Due to the impending remake, I went to the local video store and rented the original Amityville Trilogy which was just released on DVD: The Amityville Horror, Amityville II: The Possession and Amityville 3-D. Each one tries to put it's own unique spin on the haunted house formula, and each one (for the most part) fails miserably.

In the original, a family (the adults are played by James Brolin and Margot Kidder) moves into a home that was the site of a brutal mass murder years before. They soon discover that their dream home is haunted by an evil force that wants them dead as well.

I still hate the first one, and even though it has a couple of neat-o moments it doesn't make for a scary or entertaining film. It’s boring, badly acted and a chore to sit through.

The sequel, The Possession is actually a prequel to the original, telling the story of what caused the haunting to begin with. The facts get skewed a bit, and it turns out that a demon possessed a young teen and used his body to murder his family.

This installment is gross-out city that steals a lot from The Exorcist and Poltergeist, but it's a lot more effective than the original. Plus the possession scenes feature some very creative camerawork and make-up FX. The ending, however, is cliched and makes no sense.

In Amityville 3D another family moves into the haunted house, only this time the patron is a ghost buster. But when those around him start dying as he investigates the strange happenings at his humble abode he comes face to face with the demon that has been causing all the ruckus for all these years. And it's in 3D!!!

Part 3 is a cheesefest that takes its sweet time building up some nice suspense with absolutely no pay off. I was enjoying it (I haven't seen this film in well over a decade, and I remember enjoying it as a kid) up until a major plot twist at the 3/4 mark, then the Poltergeist rip-off begins anew and we get a lame ass rubber monster and really bad miniature FX that I guess would look OK if I were watching it in anaglyph 3-D. It doesn’t help that the ending makes no sense (Demon pops out of water, breathes some fire, the house freezes, then explodes... WTF?!?). Plus the acting sucked, but it was nice to see Meg Ryan and Lori Laughlan in their first roles.

I guess that when it comes to the Amityville series there are no winners except for the company that owns the rights to the property. They churn out absolute garbage and it seems that people will lap it up regardless. I hope the remake fares better.

The Amityville Horror- 0.5 out of 5
Amityville II: The Possession - 2 out of 5
Amityville 3-D - 1 out of 5

*written 4/11/05

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