Kill them all! And by ‘all’ I don’t mean all the members of your family (dude, the fuck?). I mean all the Amityville films that have ever been made.
Alright, full disclosure, I have not seen all the Amityville films. There is a vague memory in the back of my mind of Ryan Reynolds cutting sick and trying to chop up his family. Uh… 2005 reboot. To fill in the gaps, I had a little look over the list on Wikipedia, and fuck me… Guys, friends, family, my dudes, I think we’ve covered this one. Please, for the love of all that’s good, no more Amityville films. In fact, how about we go back in time and unmake this clusterfuck of wasted potential.
Amityville: The Awakening has a simple plot; Bell (a heavily eyelined Bella Thorne… who I am 100% thinking about following on Instagram – she’s so fun) and her single mothered family move into the Amityville house of horrors. Before we even start, can I just say that white people need to stop buying haunted shit… did we learn nothing when Homer bought the Krusty Doll??? But, it’s cheap real estate, see, and the family is running low on savings due to the extensive medical care given to Bell’s twin brother James. He’s in a coma, completely non-responsive. Then (you guessed it) creepy shit starts happening. The doctor quits. Everyone’s having nightmares. Worst Mom Eva starts talking about religion a whole lot. Flies are everywhere. Jesus, someone just buy some bug spray!
Alright, so here’s the Amityville good… it comes with frogurt!
There are some really fun meta moments. Bell befriends a white boy at her school that is low-key obsessed with the Amityville house. (Side note: if you meet a white boy obsessed with a murder house, don’t fucking swipe right on that.) BUT here is the fun part – he is also into the Amityville films. In the universe of the film, the previous Amityville films exist. So not only has Bella moved into a house where a horrific thing happened, but also the house that inspired a franchise of horrific films! Sucks to be her, amirite??? Anyway. I totally buy into that meta, self-referential bullshit.
I’d like to give a special mention to Marissa, Bell’s new friend that is the most believable character. Props to Taylor Spreitler for bringing her to life. Also, Cameron Monaghan’s portrayal of James (et. al.) is rad as fuck. I don’t know how you can act ‘I am terrified but I am also in a coma,’ but Cammy Boiiii has it on lock. He’s definitely one to watch; his performance on Shameless (television series, 2011-) is raw and nuanced, and his stint as The Joker on Gotham (2014-) was acclaimed. He acts with his eyes, that one.
Ghost and haunted house stories are always better if they are tied to an overarching story about life, death, and the in-between. Amityville taps into that through James. He’s a constant reminder of the sickening reality of death and the cruelty of being at the mercy of the unknown. The James storyline gives the film some more bones than just a basic ‘there’s a demon in ma house!’ narrative.
Now, here’s the bad… the frogurt is also cursed.
Uh… What the absolute fuck?! I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but… wow… some weird decisions were made in the writing room. The less I say about the WTF vibes the better. I do need to get this off my chest though: when Worst Mom Eva tells Bell ~~The Thing~~ at about the one-hour mark… I don’t love it. The film didn’t need it, imEo. The E is for expert. Obviously.
The worst thing about Amityville is its general mediocrity. There isn’t anything overwhelmingly remarkable about the film, in either a positive or negative sense. The acting, score, a majority of the dialogue, cinematography, special effects… all that film review stuff… it’s alright, you know? It’s good enough that it could have supported a great plot, but it’s also average enough that I’m a bit eh about it all. *shrugging emoji*
The good aspects of the film are much more interesting to discuss than the bad. For me, this usually isn’t the case. (Tick, tick, tick, cool, but LET ME RAGE @ THIS FOR AN HOUR.) Amityville is all sorts of weird like that. Ultimately, would I recommend you see it? No. Would I recommend anyone make another Amityville film? Fuck no. And, would I buy a murder house if it was dirt cheap? Eh. Probably. If it came with free frogurt.