We’re barely two weeks into 2022 and look at what we have here, another Amityville movie, Amityville Uprising. This one is from writer/director Thomas J. Churchill who also gave us The Amityville Moon and Amityville Harvest. Is he starting off the New Year with a new and improved approach to the genre? Or is it a case of same shit, different year?
Amityville Uprising actually begins with some footage of the actual town of Amityville, which is something of a rarity these days. That’s quickly shattered by an aerial view of a bad CGI explosion at a nearby military base. An explosion that’s sent tons of toxic and corrosive chemicals into the atmosphere.
Somehow when all these chemicals come back down as literal acid rain they don’t just dissolve the skin of anyone unfortunate enough to get caught in it, they bring what’s left back as flesh-eating zombies. And since the town’s police station also houses its morgue Lt. Stevenson (Tank Jones, Rottentail, Union Bound), Sgt. Dash (Scott C. Roe, Big Freaking Rat, Alien Warfare), Detective McQueen (Mike Ferguson, The Devils Heist, Triassic Hunt) and Officers Malloy (Troy Fromin, It Wants Blood!, The Perfect Weapon) and Rossi (Kelly Lynn Reiter, Deadlock, Xenophobia) are about to have a shift from hell.
The idea of Assault on Precinct 13 only with zombies has a certain appeal to it I’ll grant the filmmakers that. Unfortunately, Amityville Uprising goes wrong almost right from the start. We see what looks like a small atomic bomb detonating in the aerial shot but the building that allegedly exploded is intact. And the team sent in to assess the damage has no protective gear beyond goggles and a cloth mask.
Even worse, after the explosion, Amityville Uprising takes forever to get to the actual uprising. Instead, we get loads of talk and supposedly witty interaction between the police and the various citizens stopping by the station despite the order to stay indoors due to the threat of acid rain. About the only thing here that serves any purpose is the subplot between Dash and his son Jimmy (Kole Benfield, Nation’s Fire), and that isn’t introduced until just before the shit hits the fan. You could skip almost the entire first half of the film and not miss anything of importance.
Once the rain does start falling and the dead start walking, watch for Noel Jason Scott (Zombi VIII: Urban Decay, Blade The Iron Cross) as one of the first zombies, Amityville Uprising does get at least mildly interesting. There are the odd flashes of gore and some decent makeup effects to go with them. But the script is still more concerned with subplots such as an escaped prisoner rather than what we tuned in to see.
In the end, we get about ten minutes of zombie action at the very end of Amityville Uprising followed by eight minutes of credits. And none of what we see has anything to do with what most horror fans think of when they see “Amityville” in a film’s title. Or maybe it does since it’s never explained just how these chemicals bring the dead back to life. Or affect those who weren’t caught in the rain and exposed to them. Instead, we get an ending that’s supposed to be bleak and emotional but feels cynical and ultimately laughable due to some extremely bad overacting
Not only is Amityville Uprising not better than The Amityville Moon, it ends up being on the same level as Amityville Poltergeist and Amityville in the Hood. And that didn’t have to be the case, the plot had potential but Churchill failed to do anything with it. He also wasted both Ferguson and Scott, two actors who have proven they can play imposing characters when they have the material and direction.
Amityville Uprising is available on DVD and via Digital platforms from Lionsgate who seem to rapidly be losing any standards they ever had when it comes to their releases.