House Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be much more negative

It’s time to look at a horror/comedy which often times seems to be the best way to handle the genre. It’s a pretty interesting blend of the two genres and one that I think works rather well to be honest. The songs really help as well and the movie does a good job of just never getting too exaggerated. It’s a rare exception to the trope of most horror films being terrible. Of course, since it is part comedy do you wonder a bit if it really counts. I’m actually surprised that it’s R because it didn’t seem all that violent or to have much objectionable content. I’m assuming a lot of it must have been language or something in which case I would naturally rescind my statement that the writing is pretty good in this film, but as mentioned earlier I am specifically reviewing the edited version and as such my recommendation to watch it is only to be applied to that one.

The film starts off with Roger having a pretty awful time of it lately. His wife left him which is always unfortunate. His son went missing a few years back and his aunt died. He’s also on tough times financially as he hasn’t been able to write a new book in a very long time and is just out of ideas. Ah well, he at least gets to inherit his Aunt’s house (Along with her wealth, but he spends a lot of it on cameras) which is supposed to be haunted. Roger doesn’t believe in ghosts, but that may prove to be irrelevant.

One positive that is really apparent here is the monster’s design. She actually has a real design and isn’t just hiding the whole time. She shows up to taunt Roger and even speaks. I admit that I was actually a little shocked when she started talking but certainly in a good way. Then she took out the shotgun and I knew that this wasn’t your average horror villain. She wasn’t relying on cheap reality warping tricks or any of that. She was just fighting Roger in hand to hand combat and making it look easy.

The rest of the monsters here are also pretty cool. You need to see the way the bat twirls around his gun before using it to break the rope Roger is clinging to. That took a lot of skill and the monster world is probably the best one that I’ve seen since Insidious. It’s definitely a highlight and seeing Roger take them on is the best part of the film. I also liked the fact that he used the floating knives in the first room he was in to take on the monster. Usually that trick won’t work, but it’s always worth trying.

There is one subplot that does drag on and isn’t as fun as the rest though, that’s the Vietnam part of the story. We see that Roger used to be in the army and was in a tough squad. They were thrown into a suicide squad where Roger abandoned his teammate to the enemy and ran home. Naturally he feels rather guilty about this and it has haunted his psyche for a very long time. It’s a subplot that feels rather unnecessary. Of course it does end up affecting the main plot by the end so I guess they felt it was good for the twist, but I think it wasn’t needed. I also do think the ghost has a good reason to be mad at Roger because Roger definitely made the wrong call there. Finishing off the guy would have been the wrong move as well. Abandoning and finishing off someone are always the wrong calls. The only right move there would have been to stay and fight until the last man.

Back to the main plot, we also get a random next door neighbor who wasn’t really needed. She is basically just added for the misdirect which is meant to be comedic and some fanservice. Neither of which are good reasons for her inclusion in the first place. Take away her annoying kid and her 3 minutes of screen time and the film wouldn’t really change. Meanwhile, Roger’s ex-wife is a far better character who is a lot more interesting in her short minutes of screen time. I was actually a little worried when she first showed up and Roger took out the Shotgun. If that had actually been her then the film would have crossed that line between being funny and dark which would have been tragic. Fortunately the film handled it pretty well so the twist worked quite well. It was handled pretty well also since I wasn’t exactly sure if it would be played straight or not.

Of course I can’t end a review of this film without mentioning the great music. This may have the best soundtrack from any horror film. That instant where Roger takes down the monster is made perfect when the cool lyrical song starts playing. The timing is perfect and the song is pretty inspirational so it just works so well. We also get another song later on which is quite good as well. The monster’s regenerative abilities prove to be a little tricky afterwards, but Roger did a good job of trying to think everything through. Even chopping the monster into many pieces was definitely a good idea to at least slow it down.

Overall, House was actually pretty fun. It poked fun at the usual horror tropes and did a good job of exploiting them without overdoing it. Roger is a better main character than most of the actual horror leads and the monster is also a step up from normal. This movie basically did everything right. It mat have juggled too many subplots at times and lost focus of what was actually happening, but in the end the pacing was solid and the plot was interesting. The writing was surprisingly good and so was the cast. This could be my new go 2 when recommending a horror film to someone.

Overall 7/10

Insidious: Chapter 3 Review

It’s time to step into the final part of the Insidious Trilogy. This prequel helps fill in the gaps from the first two and leads into the first one. It’s a pretty solid horror film and still sets a nice bar for others to follow. It’s a shame that most horror films still manage to mess it up and stumble down the finish line. As long as this series continues, there is hope for the genre though.

So, Quinn visits an old psychic’s house because she wants to talk to her mom. The psychic is named Elise and the old lady warns Quinn not to do this. Elise breaks down and decides a few minutes couldn’t hurt though. Unfortunately she was wrong and instead of the mother, a demon answers. Quinn is now being haunted by it. Unless the spirit is defeated quickly, it would appear that Quinn’s days are numbered.

Quinn is essentially the main character but you can also say that she shares the role with Elise. She seems like a nice enough person even if her plan to talk to her dead Mother is probably not a good idea. We do have the phrase “rest in peace” for a reason after all. Quinn does her best to help around the house as well while also making time for her singing career. Naturally once the spirit is after her this all gets a little tricky. I didn’t really have any qualms with her.

Her Dad Sean is also all right. He probably gives Quinn too many responsibilities which stresses her out, but I don’t feel like he was being malicious about it. He’s also being overwhelmed at the moment and trying to cope with raising two kids on his own. He certainly could do a better job of it and listen to Quinn more though. He has more faults than Quinn but at the end of the day he is a lot better than he could have been. I am glad that the film let him find out that the demon was real very quickly instead of just doubting Quinn the whole time since that gets old fast.

Elise has been a big character during all of the Insidious movies. Naturally this one was no exception but as it took place before the others she isn’t as powerful initially as you may expect. She is plagued by doubts and a lot of hesitation but gradually gets back to being on top of things. Re learning that being alive gives you a good advantage over the dead was definitely something that makes a lot of sense. While the fight scenes weren’t heavily stylized like an action film or anything, it was cool to see her throw some of the demons around.

You rarely see the humans do much of anything against the spirits so it is always satisfying. She uses trapdoors to her advantage and resists the choke hold that the demons have at their disposal. At this point Elise quickly became the strongest human in the series and basically feels untouchable. At least until the ending of course. As with most horror films this one has a twist ending. Let’s just say that one of the future villains decides to pay his respects and remind her of the pecking order. It was definitely a little unfortunate for Elise since she had just gone through a whole character arc of getting her confidence back along with a boost in strength but it was all negated in an instant. It’s good hype for the villain of course, but you can definitely see how it’s tragic for her.

The villains from the past films also completely overshadow the main one the instant that they appear. I really couldn’t take this villain too seriously because of his underwhelming design. He just doesn’t look like he can put up any kind of fight and the weak design prevents him from being scary as well. You just can’t imagine this guy taking anyone down in a fight, especially since he can barely breath without his mask. The guy just doesn’t stand a chance against any of the real opponents in his path. While I don’t like the old lady villain, it was interesting to see him make a cameo. He definitely got some hype since it didn’t really seem like Elise could take him down even in her prime here. She is definitely lucky that they didn’t have to fight. The Red Mask villain also looked pretty good in his appearance and it’s safe to say that she wouldn’t have been able to beat him either. It’s definitely impressive how formidable the series has made its villains.

As always, the effects for the spirit dimension are really solid. The rules that are established for the place are thought over pretty well. If I have any gripes, it’s that all of the normal ghosts seem pretty powerless while only the evil ones stay strong. Why can’t we have a hero who died and then decided to be a heroic ghost? That’d be a neat twist and even if the films suddenly became action thrillers instead, I could roll with that. As it stands, the idea of demons camping the spawn points of the humans for the rituals is a cool idea too though. Elise stayed away from it for years, but the instant she went back the villains were still ready. That’s definitely a lot of determination there.

There aren’t a bunch of jump scares or anything, but we get a reasonable amount. The only real weakness for the film would probably be some of the supporting characters. The random guy who waited until Quinn broke her leg to unleash his pun felt like filler. Quinn’s best friend also didn’t have much of a role. Giving these characters quick cameos instead of drawn out scenes is the best bet I suppose, but they didn’t really need to appear. All of the human scenes just don’t feel eventful next to the hype supernatural stuff.

The two comic relief supernatural experts are always interesting to have around. In a sense it’s impressive how they can suddenly make the whole atmosphere light and happy when it was super serious just a moment ago. It’s hard to feel scared when they’re around. After all, the guys may be incompetent, but at least they can still serve as shields if the demons come along. Moreover, it’s just hard to imagine the comic relief characters being destroyed so it lightens the atmosphere.

Overall, Insidious 3 was better than I thought it would be. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised since the series was always more memorable than other horror films and rarely went for the low hanging fruit. Give the film some extra credit for having a dog appear in various scenes, but nothing happens to him. Now that’s quality. This is a horror film that I would actually recommend and you know how rare that is so it says a lot about the film.

Overall 6/10

The Apparition Review

This film is the ultimate example of why you shouldn’t hang out with sketchy characters. The main heroine is put in the most unfair position possible as she is surrounded by people who know that an all powerful entity is coming to slay them all, but they all lie to her face about it. By the time she figures it out…it’s too late. The Apparition is just a film that’s not very fair and doesn’t mind letting you know this.

Kelly is living an ordinary life with Ben. They talk about the future and life is full of possibilities and fun. That starts to change when they find weird mold in the house and suspicious things start to happen. It almost seems as if something is in the house with them, but that can’t be right? Kelly knows how this works and a monster shouldn’t be after them if there’s no reason for it to be angry right? Well, Ben doesn’t know exactly how to tell her this, but he was with a very shifty cult a while back and they decided to awaken an evil spirit for kicks. The chant worked and the spirit murdered his old girlfriend. It has been hunting down all of the members one by one, but Ben doesn’t believe it’ll ever happen to him.

This is for 2 reasons. 1. Ben’s not very smart. 2. Ben doesn’t believe in spirits even though he saw one murder one of the group members in front of his eyes and has repressed all knowledge of the event since then. He has also conveniently ignored his email and phone messages til now. As the situation gets more and more our of hand, Ben decides to look at his email and sees over 20 warnings from the only other member still alive, Patrick. Patrick warns him that the monster is getting stronger and stronger so he should probably get out of there. Ben doesn’t let Kelly know of course, but luckily she is actually pretty smart and breaks into his Laptop to find out what’s going on.

Naturally, the two of them don’t get along much after this and I’m certainly on Kelly’s side with this. Once again, it’s just too late though. Just by association to Ben, the monster wants her now. It has reality warping, teleportation, super strength, telekinesis, and a bunch of other super abilities. Needless to say, the heroes do not stand a single chance. It also likes to mess with the heroes so it toys with them for the duration of the film. It likes to wait until the heroes are too weak to resist or have completely given up, then it moves in for the kill. If you don’t get weak and have a strong will then the monster loses patience and will just murder you so it’s as I said. You were doomed from the start.

Ben never does anything to make you find him even semi likable here. Even once it’s night out and he decides to camp with Kelly outside, he doesn’t take his job seriously. He falls asleep right away and when he wakes up, he leaves Kelly all by herself to investigate a noise he heard on the other side of the house. Shockingly, nothing attacked Kelly in the mean time, but it continues to show why Ben just isn’t very reliable or the kind of guy you want to have your back. You just don’t know how long he’ll have your back so it’s best to just fend for yourself.

Patrick was a reasonable character to an extent. He was a lot more likable than Ben, but that’s where the buck stops. It was his idea in the first place to wake up the spirit and then he wanted to do the experiment again. With modern technology, surely it wouldn’t fail again and make things worse right? Well, I’m afraid that it does and you’ll feel like rolling your eyes when they’re surprised about this. He built himself a little hut behind an electric fence and trapped himself in a cage so that the monster couldn’t get him. Yeah…that didn’t work too well. The heroes try to go in the cage too since if it didn’t work the first time, maybe it’d work next time right? It ended up failing again. That’s when Kelly had the amazing idea to head to her local Costco. After all, you can’t keep running on an empty stomach right? Unfortunately, she went to the tent section and that was her final, fatal mistake.

You can barely call it a mistake though I guess since her end was inevitable. The film plays out like a classic horror so that means there are a lot of negatives here. For starters, the next door neighbor has a dog. This is a bad sign and all experienced movie goers will likely realize this. The Dog always dies, so much so that there is a whole website devoted to warning you ahead of times which films have a dog death in them. This one is no exception as the Dog tries to fight the Apparition and is defeated. The film was doomed either way, but taking out a dog is the icing on the cake. There’s no going back from that. We even had some fake jump scares afterwards with a little girl warning them that she’s on the Spirit’s side and a lot of other iffy moments. While it may have been a nice gesture for Kelly to give the neighbors a new dog, I think it was misguided. If your Dog was murdered, would you suddenly want to get a new Dog the next day? Not only are you putting another Dog in danger, but it’s hard to just “move on” like that. It wasn’t handled very delicately.

I actually can’t recall the obligatory shower scene so I’ll give the film some credit for that, but take it lightly as I may have just forgotten about it. I could fact check that, but I’d rather not so if it is there, just feel free to deduct another star from this review or half a star. The film’s not overly violent at least as it prefers to just have a tense atmosphere and some spooooky visuals. The scene where a character is crumpled up like a piece of paper is done well and likewise with them being thrown around the room.

The Apparition’s signature attack is similar to Robin’s from One Piece. It will materialize hands around you as they choke you to death or just bring on the fear. She is even able to materialize from your clothes to bring you into the Underworld. Once you’re in its grip, it is exceptionally hard to break out. It’s a pretty strong monster and it can hold its own against the other big ones in Hollywood. That being said, they all tend to have the same powers and personality so it’s not as if this is surprising.

Overall, The Apparition plays it by the book. It doesn’t really do anything new or unique in the Horror genre and just uses the same old jump scares and creepy visuals. It falls into the animal violence trap and also has a very annoying main character in the form of Ben. Kelly wasn’t bad, but I would have gotten as far away from Ben as possible. It’s too bad since they got along well, but being put in the death list for a supernatural entity is a pretty inconsiderate thing for Ben to do to her. There’s nothing really good to say about the film at all and the heroes make the wrong moves so often that you’ll be shaking your head. It seems like there is always an excuse not to leave the house and considering that Ben was making most of the excuses, it just makes you more and more irritated the whole time. If you just like watching horror films in general, then you should enjoy this one. It has all of your usual cliches and such, but if you want a film with more heart, check out Poltergeist 3. It doesn’t play by the usual rules and that’s what made it so good.

Overall 2/10

The Boy Review

It’s time for another one of those dime a dozen horror films. If you thought that I would somehow enjoy The Boy more than the others, then it’s time to be enlightened. To be honest, this film actually started out all right. It was fairly reserved. No exploitation, No super violence, No dark pasts…and then…the film continued. It brought all of those problems into the mix along with language and animal violence. This film was PG-13 from the get go so it’s all not too extreme, but every negative adds up. Throw in the terrible twist at the end and you’ve got yourself a stinker!

Greta has found herself a babysitting job at a mansion in the middle of nowhere. This is the perfect way to escape her unhealthy connection to a demented villain. As long as her friends don’t tell him where she went, it should be impossible for anyone to find her. The job gets a little odd when Greta realizes that she has been tasked with looking after a doll. The doll’s parents claim that it is real though and give her a lot of rules to follow. If she does these things, then all will be well. Greta eagerly agrees and the instant they are out the door she proceeds to break as many of the rules as possible. After all, what can a doll do? Malcolm is the local errand boy who acts as a negative role model for Greta and encourages her to do all of the wrong things. Will she listen? Of course she will!

So, where to start here? Well, Greta’s a terrible main character. Seriously, let’s forget for a moment that this is a horror film so Greta’s doomed anyway. Is it really so hard to follow the rules that she was given? Talk to the doll a little, play it some music, feed it, etc. It’s not exactly rocket science and she is getting paid for this so she may as well do the job right. Since the doll doesn’t have any other needs, she still has a very large amount of free time. It’s not enough for Greta though and she has her “Miller Time” (Using Wine though) as quickly as possible. Greta also insists on insulting the doll and pushing it around since its face offends her. After she realizes that the doll is real, she quickly tries to warm up to it, but it’s a little too late for that. It’s good that she’s making amends, but she was well past the point of being even slightly likable.

At this point, I was expecting the doll to help her out against the insane Cole. (Yes, the friends decided to tell him where Greta was hiding in order to save their own skins. Great friends right?) Greta asks the doll for help, but then it’s destroyed in a single hit and the plot twist occurs. Are you ready for this? Are you? If you don’t want spoilers, leave now. This twist is far too terrible not to mention here! Well, the doll really was fake. There are no supernatural elements in this film whatsoever. Instead, there’s a guy living in the house all along. He quickly shows up and destroys Cole, but decides that Greta and Malcolm have to die as well.

The direction of the film certainly changed rather drastically here. It was good to see Cole gone, but this twist was terrible. For starters, it makes no sense. He moves around very quickly and silently as Greta somehow doesn’t notice when he’s around, even when he goes to the bathroom where she’s taking a shower and snatches her clothes. He gets to her boots immediately after she enters the house in the first scene as well. His secret passages go everywhere apparently and he’s a bodybuilder who has a good amount of super strength. He’s able to survive being directly stabbed and gets multiple injuries that do nothing but slow him down. Why couldn’t we have just had a supernatural doll who could destroy people and warp reality? That would have been more entertaining at the very least. This guy was about as interesting as your average psychotic villain, which means he wasn’t interesting in the slightest.

Malcolm is a terrible character as you’d expect so there’s no reason to talk about him much. The instant that he appears, he decides to flirt with Greta and since this is a film, he succeeds and they instantly have a one night stand. From there, he just gets knocked out a lot and eventually escapes thanks to Greta. As for the parents who ran off, they decided to destroy themselves since The Boy was too strong. They left Greta as a human sacrifice since they’re also pretty corrupt. You’d think that they would just run off and call the cops, bringing them back to the house to save everyone right? Not in the cards for them.

As for the rest of the negatives, this film falls into every trap in the book. As mentioned earlier, we have the obligatory shower scene which serves no purpose in the film other than to remind us that the villain is terrible and has nothing better to do than watch. We have the terribly written romance that undermines both of the main characters. The friends are hilariously bad as they basically don’t mind sacrificing Greta’s life. Her subplot with Cole involving the past is naturally super dark because every horror film likes a dark backstory. It’s not the only one though as we find out that the original Boy already had destroyed other kids back in the day and nobody ever stopped him. He literally got away with murder thanks to everyone being so weak willed. Apparently people at the bar knew about this, but decided not to tell anyone.

There is animal violence as well as Greta is in charge of looking after the traps and taking the rats down once and for all. The final part of the film is also pretty violent as the Boy starts to destroy everyone as cruelly as possible. You’d think that Cole would be pretty tough, but he goes down like a sack of rocks immediately. Even when he was fighting The Boy, it was impossible to root for him though. I’m sorry moviegoers, but this guy’s even worse than the main villain although they’re both completely terrible. It’s a short film, but the Boy quickly became your average horror slasher with every possible trope that it could squeeze in.

The design for The Boy also isn’t very good at all. I’ll take the classics like the Xenomorph over him. To be honest, Freddy and Jason aren’t much better either, but at least their designs are classic. Jason’s mask is also more impressive. I suppose that The Boy could beat the original Jason, but both Freddy and Jason have long since surpassed this guy thanks to their never ending sequels. They keep getting stronger while The Boy will likely never appear again.

Overall, The Boy is rather terrible with the final twist solidifying this as a sad experience. Without the twist, maybe the film could have clawed its way up to a 2 or a 3, but it depends on where the film would have gone with the ending anyway. Adding in Cole was a big mistake if you ask me. None of the characters are likable and the film is filled with a ton of generic jump scenes and toons that you won’t remember in the end. There is a final scene as all horror films have a twist. As it stands, it’s a pretty subdued one and a generic ending that any horror film could pull off. I guess this film just didn’t have much originality. There’s no reason to watch this film and you’re better off just checking out Bleach: Hell Verse if you want a spooky title that’s also hype at the same time.

Overall 1/10

Poltergeist (2015) Review

It’s time to take a look at the remake of the original Poltergeist film. I actually saw this film a while back, but the review has been rotting in my backlog for some time now. Surprisingly, I thought that the film was fairly decent and by all accounts…it is actually better than the original film. I know that critics wouldn’t agree and by all accounts…I’m talking about mine. This film doesn’t take itself quite as seriously as the original nor does it feel nearly as long and I almost consider it to be an abridged version. For some reason, I get that vibe from most horror films like I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and the latest The Fog. They all just go by so quickly that the villains barely even have time to hype themselves up a little.

A family moves into a new house…and weird things begin to happen. It’s sort of like Five Nights at Freddy’s if you ignore the plot of both items and just focus on the scary jump moments. The family must try to resist the ghosts, but the daughter is taken to the spirit world which certainly complicates matters. The family calls in a version of the Ghost Busters, but even that may not be enough to save them from imminent destruction and complete obliteration.

This film is a lot newer than the original so the effects are certainly more polished even if that means that they may not be as “scary” (Still don’t believe that films can actually be scary) There’s no family dog here, which was a big relief and the film is also toned down from the original. One guy’s face doesn’t start to peel off, which is a welcome improvement. There’s still a maggots/roach scene, which is pretty gross and unnecessary, but it could have been worse. As this is a horror film, the characters make as many mistakes as possible to fill their quotas. One guy nearly gets rammed through with a screwdriver/jackhammer but decides not to tell anyone about this. They couldn’t have done anything about it, but sharing is caring right?

When it’s not cutting out scenes from the original, this film follows the old plot very closely. As a result, you will know everything that is about to happen before it happens. It’s why such literal remakes are risky since it’s hard to scare anyone when they know what to expect. Honestly, I’m not sure what the film’s gameplan was for this since they didn’t seem to even try and escape from this issue. The film played it close to the cuff and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it also limited the movie’s opportunities.

Honestly, I’d say that the film was a little on the generic side although it was certainly more tasteful than the average Horror film. I didn’t mind the film all that much while watching it. It could even be fun at times like when the dad brought home pizza and chicken for dinner. The kids were rather ungrateful though and the situation got dicey, but it was neat. Adding in the rebellious teenage daughter was a little much though and one of those modern effects that makes you back up a little. The parents got to go to a fancy party and we actually saw it this time so that was neat I suppose.

It’s actually hard to find enough things to say about this movie to fill in the review. It’s the kind of flick that you will essentially forget after a little while because it furfills the cliches of horror 101, but doesn’t try to make a name for itself. Knowing horror films, this is probably a good thing though. Poltergeist actually ends up being the most positively received horror film by this blog in quite a while so it certainly did something right.

The actions scene where the heroes try to rescue the daughter from the portal using the rope is still classic. I felt like that plot was handled better than in the original. The clown was a lot weaker here though, but I can live with that since a toy clown should be no match right from the get go. As mentioned earlier, the film’s pacing is a lot quicker and I’d say that this is a good thing. The film doesn’t need to bother trying to develop the characters since they’re mainly here to be scared anyway. Just give them some basic personality and you should be all set for some action. The characters were actually pretty reasonable considering the genre and while the kids were annoying…how could they not be? I’d still take them over the kids in The Shining and Insidious any day of the week. I do like how casually people around the block take the whole house blowing up thing. This should have been filmed in New York, you really wouldn’t get a reaction from those tough blokes. They’ve seen it all and aren’t afraid to remind you of that from time to time. There’s a reason why New York City is known as the greatest place on the planet after all!

Now, I wonder if this film will get remade again someday. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised, but it’s a film that should be left alone for a little while. Then the writers can think about how they should improve it some more. This remake added to stars to the score so if they keep up at this pace, the series will be doing quite well! The next remake should be a little different though so surprise the audience a little.

Overall, Poltergeist is a decent horror film for what it’s worth, but that’s still not saying a whole lot. I couldn’t really recommend the film because I don’t know why you would be seeing it. If you want something that’s more intense, but less tasteful, then you’ve got the original film. If you want to watch something new and fancy, why are you in the horror genre? Poltergeist just doesn’t do anything within the genre and just becomes another horror film to be forgotten on the shelf. At least it had the nice portal effects though, I always like those.

Overall 4/10

The Amityville Horror Review

Disclaimer: This review is of the edited TV 14 version of the film. All thoughts written below should be addressed accordingly as a review of the unedited version would likely be even more negative.
The Amityville Horror is a film that you could probably judge from the title and know what to expect. I came into the film with reasonably low expectations and it still managed to crash way below them. This title is filled with red herrings and uninteresting characters to distract you from the fact that not much really happens in this film. If you haven’t seen it, now’s your chance to quickly back away to spare yourself some time.

The plot involves George and Kathy as they decide to move to a new house. They are pretty strapped for cash, but they really want a new house. Unfortunately, that’s just how it is in the modern world. The house is really beat up and the previous occupants were participants in a gruesome act, but the new owners don’t mind. They quickly pay up and the real estate agent was probably thrilled that someone finally fell for her tricks. The heroes settle in with their 3 kids and things seem to be going smoothly. Then, mysterious things start to happen and the heroes realize that the house may be tougher than it looks.

Well, there are many placed to start with this film. Let’s talk about the characters first. George is a pretty terrible lead and his “strength of character” is nonexistent. All it takes is an artificial chill that the spirit produces to start corrupting him. He loses his temper constantly and yells at the dog just to provide him with some amount of “toughness” for his character. It really just makes him look petty and even worse. I wasn’t rooting for him almost from the second that he appeared. He is distracted by romance, but not enough so that he can resist the influence of the dark spirits. Feeling cold isn’t fun, but his mind deteriorates way too quickly through this feeling. He continues to crack as the film goes on. He gets a heroic scene towards the end to try and redeem his character, but that was basically impossible by that point. It helps his character to be sure, but it’s simply too late for him.

Kathy is the main heroine and she doesn’t really look much better. SHe keeps on telling George that they shouldn’t get the house, but then she relents and they move in. From then on, she basically just has to watch as George goes crazy and she can’t really do anything about it. In the climax, she decides to fight, but it’s one of the worst attempts of all time. She gives up after a few seconds and she really showed no combat experience. That’s all right, but anyone can throw a punch and I would expect a much better fight out of someone who’s fighting for several lives. That was pretty poor form and she never became likable as the film went on.

The film plays out as a reverse slasher in the sense that the spirit picks off everyone one by one, but it doesn’t typically finish them off. It just gives them a scare so they will leave the house. Failure to comply with it will result in a car crash or permanent paralysis. Sometimes both. It’s a unique approach I suppose, but you do have to wonder what the point of it all is. The spirit gets some character development towards the end, but it’s very slight.

The film also really wanted to push the “Even God can’t save you now” angle. I suppose that it can be seen as the ultimate scare since you would really be doomed. Ignoring that this scenario would never even be possible, it just goes very far to show this. The heroes put up a mini statue of the cross and the spirit makes sure to burn it. Later on, the Father at one of the churches comes over to bless the house and the spirit overwhelms him with a powerful curse. We see him try to leave a Bible, but the spirit forces him to pick it back up and run away. Later on, he tries to go back, but the spirit just takes out his car and essentially ends his life since he’s almost brain dead at this point. Most Hollywood/mainstream films like to point out that demons and spirits can be alive while the same isn’t true for Angels and God. It’s a film so they can always mess with the rules that way, but it makes the whole thing pretty lopsided. The film is also trying to claim that it’s from a true story although I suppose that we all knew better about 15 minutes into the film. Demons are real so some horror stories are probably real, but this is one of the tales that was probably just made up for a quick buck and their 5 minutes of fame.

Another negative would be the George getting corrupted part. It’s so overdone and it’s one of the worst horror plots. Give us a supernatural enemy who can’t be stopped (Which is bad enough) but let’s at least give the main characters some determination and a will to fight back. Seeing him turn on everyone is just not enjoyable and it’s an easy way out of using special effects or good writing. The hit towards the end was basically the cliff that the film went over since he was no longer redeemable although he may have already passed that part earlier.

The film is not the most violent horror film that you’ll encounter. There are only a handful of scenes, but one of them is particularly brutal as one of the main characters has a dream. It’s enough that you could instantly guess that this film was a little stronger than your average summer blockbuster and it didn’t do any wonders for the film. Violence against noncombatants always ends up appearing as a negative compared to fighting violence. See, a fighter getting injured is way different than a pedestrian getting hit since they are prepared for two vastly different roles.

The kids are also pretty bad characters. The girl has an imaginary friend once again who turns out to be the spirit of the house. It explains that it wants them to stay in the house forever so that’s basically why it wants George to destroy them all. Or, so it would seem. The spirit is evidently strong enough to destroy them all on his own, but I guess it wants things to end up just like how they did last time. It mostly seems to have power over the mind, but its abilities have a real impact on the human world so it’s not just simple telepathy. Most likely it has advanced reality warping abilities since that’s a favorite for most horror writers. You don’t have to do any work, just make it able to do literally anything and you can call it a day.

I’d say that the film is actually more grotesque than scary. The film came out decades ago so you can mostly anticipate everything that it’s going to do, which is why it can be tough to be scared. The grotesque part goes back to the flies, which were some of the worst scenes in the film. One thing that I’ve never liked are insect scares since it’s just about insects crawling all over somebody so you can imagine the worst. It was a painfully bad scene as they attack the Father and force him out of the house. The guy takes his time leaving even though an ordinary person would have dashed out. The spirit continues to torment the guy with boils and such since the guy keeps trying to warn the heroes of the imminent danger.

The other scary scene would likely be when the babysitter is trapped in the closet. You’re supposed to be extra worried for her since she already has braces so everything is a little tougher for her. It’s really more unpleasant and sad to watch than it is scary and the lights turn off, but we already know that the spirit refuses to destroy anyone. It just wants to scare them over and over again until George cracks and does the work for him. The Babysitter literally had no point in the story. She was just there to get taken down.

The heroes have a dog and he’s probably the only positive thing that I can say about the whole experience. There is a little dog violence unfortunately as he scratches at a wall so hard that his paws bleed. Luckily, the film redeemed itself by saving the dog at the end so he wouldn’t have to bring the film down even more. It’s a shame that the other characters wanted to leave him (Kathy did anyway) but I would expect no less from her. George went back, which was good since it shows that he could have been a good character if not for the mind control.

The soundtrack was better than your average horror film so I guess that’s another positive. Considering when it came out, it’s surprisingly fast paced at times and it’s decently memorable. A horror film having a soundtrack in the first place is pretty surprising and it being a good one even more so. If only we had some good scenes to go along with it.

The spirit’s true form is only shown twice, but he seems like a decently tough demon. He’s pretty large, but he can probably shape shift at will so he will likely look different each time. He would have been a little cooler if he had fought some more, but the budget probably wasn’t there yet unless they used a suit like in the old Godzilla films. That would have been pretty interesting.

Some plot lines never really get time to develop either since the film didn’t know where it was going. We have the Detective who tries to act tough and sneaks around for clues, but he never ends up doing anything. He just abruptly disappears and ends up playing no role in the story. He was just there for filler, nothing more. Another woman is possessed by the spirits and tells them that the well is a gateway to Hell. Okay…I think we could have guessed that when we saw the endless tar coming out of it. What does that have to do with anything? The heroes never decide to close the well and the info didn’t help anyone out. I’m guessing that the original climax would have had the heroes plug it up, but maybe it was written out due to time constraints and a rapidly falling budget.

Overall, The Amityville Horror is not a film that you’ll want to check out anytime soon. The monster design is pretty good and the soundtrack is good as well, but everything else about the film really hit rock bottom. There was only 1 or 2 jump scenes and neither of them worked since we weren’t watching the film in super 3D in the dead of night with speakers that make you shiver with loud noises. The gross scenes will just make you back up a little and George’s plot is extremely wince worthy. The film also gives the Father way too cruel of a fate just so it could make a point that wouldn’t help the film anyway. Burning the cross and effectively destroying the Father…we get the point. (We also can’t forget making the Nun so sick that she has to end up leaving the house almost immediately) It’s hard to tell which negatives pushed my buttons the most to deserve a 1 since there were so many of them and they just kept adding up and up and up. Ah well, at least it was a pretty easy decision. I had the rating set before the film had even ended. While you’re steering clear of this film, just play a scary game like Dirge of Cerberus or take the opposite effect and take this time to rent Megaman Battle Network 5. Either way, you’ll be better off as this film goes into Sucker Punch levels of terrible. If you do watch the film, you should try to make a list of plots and characters that ended up not adding anything to the film.

Overall 1/10