Amityville Haunting, The (DVD)
Video Compiled by Geoff Meed
Distributed by The Asylum
The Family Did Not Survive. But the Recordings Did.
Couldn’t this tagline on the cover art constitute a major spoiler? I mean, they are pretty much telling everyone how their movie is going to end before anyone ever pops it into the DVD player.
There’s a second tagline on the front of the DVD as well:
Be Warned. The Footage is Real.
I’m actually willing to believe this if for no other reason than because if there is one thing I am positive of, it is that none of the people I watched are professional actors. Oh, lordy, are none of these people actors. Except for the teenage daughter, passable at best, this is some of the worst acting I’ve seen in any movie this year.
The Amityville Haunting is the latest we-swear-it’s-100%-real found footage movie from The Asylum that could have easily been retitled Uneventful Activity. You know a subgenre has truly come into its own when you can begin watching similar movies and instantly label them as heavily clichéd. This found footage movie could have easily been constructed after reading a how-to book titled Paranormal Activity for Dummies.
Things do start off in a rather unexpected fashion as some teenagers break into the house before the new family moves in, presumably so they could experience the thrill of recording themselves having sex in a purportedly haunted house. Before you get a chance to wonder if the whole flick is going to be Pornographic Activity, they’re all quickly killed off, the family moves in, and the film proceeds to commit the #1 sin of found footage movies: Nothing even remotely interesting happens until the last two minutes.
A family has moved into the Amityville house (or an Amityville house) unaware of its gruesome history of murder and spookiness. Dad is an asshole. Mom is a wet blanket. The delinquent teenage daughter somehow keeps getting the blame for some of the strange goings-on. The extremely irritating adolescent son fancies himself a budding Spielberg and insists on not only filming everyone at all times without any logical reason for doing so at first, he also frequently films himself commenting on the strangeness he’s caught on tape. The youngest daughter claims to have a new imaginary best friend whose name happens to be that of the deceased killer responsible for murders in the house many years earlier.
I described Apollo 18 in my review of it as everything people have come to hate about found footage movies. At least that one had an intriguing setting and an interesting visual style. This has nothing going for it unless you want to make a drinking game out of every freaking time the annoying son asks someone repeatedly to look at something he’s filmed or found.
Weird little things happen. Horrible accidents happen. Numerous arguments happen. Surveillance cameras are set up all around the house. People get yanked off-camera by an unseen force. That unseen force eventually decides to start mugging for the camera, revealing one of the least menacing looking supernatural killers you’ll ever see.
For a movie built upon the gimmick that it is completely authentic, there is not a single moment here that rings true.
There was one brief moment where I thought things might enter into the dizzying heights of a guy getting pantsed in mid-air and dragged to the basement to be ghost raped to death as in last year’s Asylum Gacy House found footage flick. The spiraling towards a nervous breakdown dad has finally had enough of listening to his youngest daughter talk about her imaginary best friend and drops down on all fours on the floor next to where she’s sitting and begins wildly throwing haymakers at the air and furiously stomping nothing in a futile effort to beat up an invisible entity. For a few seconds there I reacted to what I was watching with an emotion besides total boredom.
A part of me almost 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. I don’t know if they succeeded here, but they sure give it a run for its money.
1 out of 5
1/2 out of 5
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