At the beginning of Amityville Cult Stanley DeFeo (Chance Gibbs, Satanic Panic, Deadfall: Ground Zero) gets a call from the lawyer for the estate of the grandmother he never knew he had. It seems she’s died and left him her house and everything in it. The house is located in Amityville Texas. Being left a house by an unknown relative should have been a warning sign for him. The film being set in Amityville Texas should have been one for me.
He goes to check the place out and we’re treated to several minutes of him walking around a nondescript house before going in, apparently not noticing the bloody roller skates on the porch or the maggot-infested dead animal in the entryway. He then walks around the house a bit before reading grandma’s diary.
If you’re getting the idea that Amityville Cult is a slow moving film you’re right, it is. When we get to some flashbacks to Stanley’s late grandmother Marie (Micha Marie Stevens) it’s of her walking around, being followed by a creepy looking guy who works with her husband Jeremy (Tom Young, Knucklebones, The Lightning Man) and is named Asmodeus (Eric Oberto). Real subtle, eh?
Originally intended to be titled “Birthright: An Amityville Horror” and star Eileen Dietz (The Exorcist, 100 Acres of Hell). Writer/director Trey Murphy ended up filming Amityville Cult for an estimated $7,500 with an entirely local cast and the lack of budget shows.
Actually, it might be better to say it doesn’t show because we see very little of the film’s events. Amityville Cult relies heavily on characters telling each other what happened rather than putting it on the screen. And even when we do get shown something we don’t see it. For example, during a flashback, a voice talks about dancing with devils and demons. What we see is red tinged footage of somebody dancing alone. Another character describes how the woods came alive and attacked them, we see nothing.
Amityville Cult also has endless scenes of the characters walking places, it’s as if nobody owns a car. We see Stanley’s truck, but when he goes to meet Davenport (Patrick McAlister) he walks into town and the camera follows in what feels like real time. This is Mark Polonia level padding.
The plot doesn’t offer any real surprises either. From the moment Stanley reads his grandmother’s diary you can guess just what happened in the past and what is going to happen in the present. This means the film’s big twist isn’t a surprise. Not that it hasn’t been used many, many times before Amityville Cult.
Maybe if the budget had allowed Murphy to show us some of what he has his characters tell us, Amityville Cult might have at least been diverting. Instead, apart from a random guy getting stabbed in the prologue we get an hour of constant talk. In the last ten minutes, a handful of robed figures turn up on Stanley’s doorstep.
Amityville Cult tries for another big surprise here but that’s another equally obvious development, especially if you’re still paying attention and haven’t dozed off by this point. At least we get to see the demon in the film’s final moments, a man with a painted face and horns glued to his head. But it’s better than nothing I suppose. Trey Murphy has already announced a new project, it’s a serial killer film so hopefully, he’s learned a lesson about matching his ideas to his budget.
ITN Distribution has released Amityville Cult to Tubi, so you can watch it there free with ads if the service is available in your country. If not, it’s also available free with commercials on YouTube under the title Amityville Secret. This shows you just how little faith even its distributor had in it.