Review: THE AMITYVILLE TERROR (2016)
I should have known by now, it isn’t the Amityville house that’s cursed. It’s the movies that refer to it. And yes, the fact this was directed by somebody named Michael Angelo, who seems to only exist in articles about the movie, should have been a major clue to avoid it. But a couple of friends had good things to say about it, so I watched THE AMITYVILLE TERROR anyway. And yes, I got what I expected.
THE AMITYVILLE TERROR opens energetically enough with a couple fleeing a house that looks to be in the grip of a monstrous poltergeist attack. Just as they reach freedom what appears to be their son, (or maybe his ghost) appears and the woman ends up very messily dead. Flash forward to a family in crisis moving in with their wayward and troubled, (booze and drug issues) artist relative who is living guess where?
It doesn’t take long for sparks to fly between Aunt Shae (Amanda Barton GINGERDEAD MAN 3: SATURDAY NIGHT CLEAVER, BLOOD RUSH) and daughter Hailey (Nicole Tompkins, Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made). There are also odd things going on in town centred around the well-named Delilah (Tonya Kay, Girl on the Third Floor, D-Railed) and a clique of bad girls at Hailey’s school. Something evil is going on at the house, and at least some of the townsfolk are involved.
The script, written by Barton, who also wrote Angels Fallen, seems to be as much influenced by WE ARE STILL HERE as any of the other Amityville films. And while it never rises beyond the middle of the pack, THE AMITYVILLE TERROR does have its moments, including a mishap with industrial strength drain cleaner and a scene where someone has their boyfriend’s severed head thrown at them. What could have been an effective scene involving a gasoline leak at an auto shop is ruined by awful CGI, however.
The subplot with the townsfolk is never really fleshed out enough though, and the happenings at the house are pretty much standard haunted house stuff. Mysterious figures, ominous shadows and a bit of possession. Shae taunts Hailey by telling her parents to wish she had died instead of her brother. But nothing is really done with this angle, despite its many possibilities. Some nice ideas are there, just never developed, which is a shame because the film needed something to set itself above the pack of other VOD horror films.
Those who are actually into Amityville films might find this worthwhile as a holdover until the inevitable next rebooting of the franchise. Those with a soft spot for evil houses might also have a better time with it. But most are going to find THE AMITYVILLE TERROR is not truly the bottom of the barrel, just forgettable generic.
THE AMITYVILLE TERROR is available on streaming platforms from Uncork’d Entertainment