What I'm Watching: Amityville Death House
And from science fiction, we are right back to low budget trash horror. Amityville has a long history with horror, with movies and stories of varying quality. Most of them at least have some connection to the original story. And then there's Amityville Death House. This movie *reeks* of just stamping "Amityville" on the title to get some name recognition.
Speaking of name recognition, do not be fooled by this movie giving Eric Roberts' name such prominence. Don't even be fooled by them claiming he's even in the movie. But I will come back around to this.
Also, don't be fooled by them calling this movie Amityville anything. I hate how that name has become so genericised, that it's just stamped on anything just because.
The story starts off simply enough with a group of 20somethings on their way back from one trip, and off to go camping, but instead are stopping off to check in on the sick grandmother of one of their group. Where they then proceed to sit around while horror happens elsewhere.
For such a short movie, it sure takes a damned long time to *do* anything. Death House does have a nice creepy vibe for the first chunk of it thankfully. However, that is supplied largely by the score, Eric Roberts appearing here and there, and people dying who are completely unrelated to our main group.
The movie is randomly punctuated to keep the idea that stuff is happening, by Eric Roberts' evil voiceover reading out of the Evil Dead: Book of the Dead limited edition DVD. I am not even joking one tiny bit.
As a side game, take a swig every time he does an evil laugh. And yes, that is Evil Dead 2's book of the dead edition off to the side. This entire single image is comedy gold.
Just as it seems things might start to get going, the movie stops so the group can...watch home movies of themselves from a few days ago. And sit around playing the guitar. THE HORROR. I mean, seriously. The movie is a half hour over by this point, and the main cast is still oblivious and dicking around.
This brings new meaning to the phrase second act slump. ALL the horror is happening elsewhere. The only reason things feel off and oooh bad things are coming, is the music of the movie, and a warlock in the distant past doing a voiceover. The main cast are barely even weirded out, and at this point, they should be pissing themselves.
The ideas sure have potential, but something went desperately wrong. The good thing is, it's nowhere near as wheel-spinningly terrible and slow as Killjoy 2. There IS something genuinely interesting about all this horror happening *around* the cast as they remain *completely* oblivious for a large chunk of the movie. But they're so uninteresting, and just sit around BSing for so long, and since they're just so clueless, it's a long slog. I don't know how you could make that work.
Not until the last 15 minutes do things really take off, when the characters who have been lounging around for an hour decide to head down to the basement for no particular reason, and INSTANT POSSESSIONS happen.
Although, as great as the last 15 minutes are, with some amazing effects and creatures and transformations, it kinda gets undercut by the audience being expected to take the line "SHE HAS THE WITCH'S TEATS" seriously when they reveal our main character has six breasts. Yes, you read that correctly. Horror has finally begun aaaaand the movie torpedoes itself with unintentional hilarity.
And of course, what little is left of that greatness is completely blown, because Amityville Death House already showed all the cool stuff at the START of the movie before jumping back 24 hours and show how they got there. It blows it's wad right out of the gate to show you it had cool stuff. If the movie had more beyond that, or more plot after that even, then sure, show some early goodness. Whet our whistle and get us interested. Instead, Amityville completely shares every moneyshot right away. So why bother sticking around for the end, when you already saw it?
There really isn't a compelling reason, to be honest. The movie has a few good ideas, that ultimately don't work. The cast is slightly below average, save for Eric Roberts. But let's be real here. His character? Is some guy in a mask, covered by ANOTHER mask, covered in a cloak. It ain't Eric. Eric only provides a voice. His part was QUITE LITERALLY PHONED IN. On top of that, the 'villain' of the movie is completely isolated. In a room SOMEwhere. Reading from a book. He does *nothing*. Leaving all the villainous duties to...um... Oh right, there's a ghost seeking revenge. On random people. Are they connected at all, or just bodies for the meat grinder?
Now, this movie is bad, and slow, and weird to be sure. But this is Trisk. If you're looking for something super cheesy, there is certainly fun to be had here late at night with friends, but it comes with the Trisk warning that contents may not be as good as they appear.
THIS MOVIE IS THE WITCH'S TEATS.