Friday, November 2, 2012

The Amityville Horror (1979) Review

Last night, after sitting around talking about dicks for three hours while occasionally standing up to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, my friends and I decided that we should watch a horror movie on TV seeing as how it was Halloween and all. There were two movie that were just about to start when we sat down with some pizza: The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the original Amityville Horror with Josh Brolin's dad, James Brolin. For some reason we went the latter even though, shockingly, none of us have ever seen Rocky Horror (something to do with it being on Much Music which is a shitty channel that would ruin it somehow). By the end of the movie I was fairly certain that Rocky Horror would have been significantly scarier, though perhaps not as hilarious.

The first sign that maybe this movie wouldn't live up to the last word of its title was the PG rating that appeared in the corner. The second indication was the excruciatingly annoying music that I can't fucking get out of my head. The story begins on a dark and stormy night and only gets more cliche from there. I'm not going to go too deep into the story. Suffice to say its about a young family that moves into a haunted murder house and start to go crazy. You can probably figure out most of what happens from that brief summary alone. The only real surprise is that nobody dies, and that's not necessarily a welcome twist. There's also a subplot involving a priest that never amounts to anything, and a subplot that follows a cop that similarly goes nowhere. The movie climaxes with the family slowly walking down a flight of stairs while blood drips from the walls, and then they get in their car and leave. That's it. Evidently their budget ran out before they could give the movie a proper ending and tie all the various threads together.

There isn't really much you can say about the characters. The mother is religious. The daughter is creepy. The sons exist. The father looks like a hobo and acts like one too. Its also revealed that he is not actually the father of the children, but not until three quarters of the way through the movie and its almost entirely irrelevant to the plot. Like most characters in a horror movie, they are also retarded. Despite all the batshit crazy stuff that happens in the house they refuse to leave, and seem to have amnesia when it comes to all the horrible things that happen. And its not like they didn't know about the house's checkered past. At the start of the movie the mother and father are discussing the murders that occurred in the house, and they recognize that its a major reason why the its so cheap. Characters constantly come in and tell them that the house is cursed, but they just dismiss it as irrational. At one point they literally find the portal to Hell in their basement, and they still decide to stay another three days. The best part is they try to cover it up with an old mattress. Because that will keep the demons at bay.

The most intelligent character in the movie appears to be the family dog who is the only one who seems to recognize the serious threat to personal safety having the portal to Hell in the basement presents. My friends and I invented this alternate story where Dog is the main character and spends the whole movie fighting back Satan and his demons while simultaneously dealing with the bullshit of theh his masters. At the end of the movie he's doing battle with Satan in the basement when the father comes to "rescue" him and take him away with the rest of the family only to fall into a pool of blood. This pisses the shit out of Dog, because now he has to save his useless master while trying to keep Satan at bay. I imagine him barking in dog language, "Holy fuck man, seriously? I got bigger things to worry about than saving your sorry ass! Goddamn noob weighing me down!" I am fairly confident that this would make a far more rewarding and entertaining cinematic experience.

As for scares, there aren't any, not even jump scares. Other than the aforementioned blood, what passes for scares are such spooky occurrences as doors or windows that open and close on their own, chandeliers that shake a bit, and rocking chairs that move with nobody in them. The Wishbone Halloween episode is genuinely more terrifying than this. The film tries to be creepy with the daughter who befriends the ghost of an infant murder victim, but that sort of thing has been so many times and to much greater effect in other movies. So even if you don't care about plot or character and are looking purely for chills and nightmare fodder, then this movie has very little to offer.

In conclusion: 2/10