Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Amityville Haunting (2011)

EASILY one of the worst movies that I've ever seen. EASILY. And I think that people know me well enough by now to know that I'm a very generous reviewer who can put up with a lot of rubbish. If something looks like an effort has been made or has some heart then I'll go easy on it. If something at least has fun despite a low budget then I'll admit that I was mildly entertained. Many bad movies can still have some good points. This film, basically, had absolutely nothing going for it at all.

The laziness is easy to spot from the very beginning. The movie brings up some title cards that tell viewers about the infamous Amityville house. One piece of information concerns the Lutz family and how they were plagued by paranormal activity during their two year stay there. Sorry, two years? Anyone who has seen either of the movies featuring the Lutz family or who has read the book or who even just knows of the story knows, surely, that the family lasted 28 days. That was it. We then get some footage taken by people pottering around a house at night and then, eventually, we get to the main part of the movie - a family moving into the accursed house and suffering from some activity of the paranormal type.

It's a real shame that this movie is SO bad because I have enjoyed the other found footage films from The Asylum. In fact, Paranormal Entity, Gacy House and Anneliese: The Exorcist Tapes were easily among the better titles churned out by the company that specialises in cheap 'n' cheerful rip-offs. It's easy to think that found footage movies are the easiest kind to make but, in reality, they take just as much (and sometimes more) planning and effort as any other movie. Sometimes. Though we can assume that nobody told director Geoff Meed that.

To call the people onscreen actors would be insulting to others in the profession. Too harsh? Okay, maybe Gracie Largent and Amy Van Horne do better but Jason Williams gives the worst performance that I can recall, and that includes my memory of Troll 2. He's not helped by a horrible script but that's not an excuse for just how bad he is. Speaking of horrible scripts, I couldn't even find out who wrote this film so maybe it was plotted out and then improvised or maybe the writer has had an attack of shame and gone into hiding. Young Devin Clark also fares poorly and he's stuck with being the character who films everything despite almost everyone else telling him every few minutes to just put down the damn camera and give them some space.

It's always the biggest problem in films of this type - why would someone keep filming? - and there's no moment in this movie that even remotely comes close to making a decent excuse for it. Some security cameras are also used but most of the footage comes from this young lad always being told to stop filming.

I could have been generous to this movie and given it a 2 or a 3, some of the effects are okay and . . . . . . no, that's all I can think of, but I was so angry by the time the end credits rolled (despite the absolutely hilarious scene in which the father of the family goes into military mode) that I knew I had to warn everyone away from this sloppy, amateur, unscary cash-in. Avoid at all costs. I hope that either Geoff Meed took a HELL of a lot of notes while working on this movie and aims to keep getting better at his job or that he just realises being a director isn't for him and gives up.



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