In this third, and disappointing, entry in the Amityville Horror franchise (and, let's face it, did the thing NEED to become a franchise anyway?) the plot revolves around a cynical reporter (Tony Roberts) who spends his time debunking supernatural phenomena and uncovering fraudsters. He thinks that living in the infamous Amityville house makes for a delicious irony but there is, of course, one big problem. The horrors of that house are all too real. This may affect his colleagues (mainly Candy Clark and Robert Joy), his ex-wife (Tess Harper) and even his daughter (Lori Loughlin).
Directed by Richard Fleischer and written by William Wales, saying that this isn't the worst of the many Amityville sequels is like saying a bout of chronic flatulence isn't the worst thing that could happen to you on a first date. It's still bad, it still stinks and at the time, not knowing what lies ahead, it doesn't seem as if anything will ever make up for it. In this case, however, there were more sequels to come.
The script isn't too bad in places, and the first half of the movie certainly has some potential as the lead characters set about explaining supernatural events and taking people to task. The direction is a bit flat and doesn't even use that imposing house to best effect. Then we have the cast, a mixed bunch but generally poor. I have enjoyed Tony Roberts in a number of roles but he doesn't make for a great leading man, in my opinion, and this movie highlights that. Candy Clark is as wonderful as ever while Robert Joy is okay in his role, despite being given some of the more ridiculous dialogue in the third act. Tess Harper and Lori Loughlin are neither great nor terrible and Meg Ryan fans may take some pleasure in seeing her act as a daring young woman before she'd settled into years of being the sweet gal audiences would love before the kooky sweet schtick got tiring.
But before you write it of as nothing more than an average horror movie that fails to live up to any of the previous two films let me remind you about the 3D element. It's shit. Yes, this was yet another movie released in the early 80s that tried to reach out to audiences, literally, with the use of the third dimension but it's probably the very worst of a very bad bunch. There are one or two moments that employ the 3D gimmick and make it fun but the rest just doesn't use the extra depth and leaves you simply wearing uncomfortable glasses and getting a bit of a headache.
Despite my criticism here, the film has grown on me over the years as a bit of a curio that I honestly can't entirely dismiss. The fact that it tries to take such a different path is admirable and the final product is one to class as an interesting failure as opposed to a complete waste of time.