Thursday, June 2, 2011

Amityville Week : The Amityville Curse


Things stray even further from the franchise subject matter in this fifth installment, an in name only sequel that not only doesn't even give us a glimpse of the Amityville house, but in fact has nothing whatsoever to do with the franchise. Much like Halloween 3 and Silent Night, Deadly Night 4 were to their respective franchises, The Amityville Curse doesn't even attempt to fit into the mold of the series, instead choosing to be its own standalone film. I've been known to excuse that kind of thing before but something unique and entertaining must be brought to the table to get me over the fact that a sequel has nothing to do with the franchise it's touting itself as being a part of, as both the previously mentioned H3 and SNDN 4 did. While those films entertained me to the point that I never wished while watching them that Michael Myers or a killer Santa Claus would pop up in them, The Amityville Curse made me wish like hell that I was back in the house the franchise made famous. Fail.

The Amityville Curse, about a group of friends who buy a cheap old house that they plan on fixing up and selling for a profit, is definitely the most peculiar installment in the franchise thus far. Set in Amityville, the film takes place at a house that is not the house we're familiar with, despite the fact that the VHS box art that's sitting on my desk right now touts the flick as being "A Return To The Most Dangerous House In The World." The characters act like it's the house and it's almost as if we as an audience are supposed to believe it's the house, despite the fact that it looks nothing like it. It's totally bizarre. On top of that, it actually turns out that this particular house isn't even haunted. At first we think that a demonic presence is stalking the owners but we come to find out that it's actually the benevolent spirit of a priest that was killed years before by his own son who is trying to bring about justice and expose his son, who is one of the new owners, as the killer. Oh and the priest's restless spirit is in the house because the confession booth that he was murdered in, as seen in the opening, was being stored in there for some reason. Oh and a young boy committed suicide for being wrongfully accused of the priest's murder and he shows up from time to time in the psychic visions of one of the characters. Yep. So we have all that going on while the killer son of a priest is roaming around the house knocking people off. This whole thing presents an interesting idea, that of mass hysteria leading the occupants to believe that the house is haunted due to the fact that it has a backstory of such things, and given it's in the 'evil town' of Amityville, but the idea is never fleshed out and ultimately just ends up getting swallowed up by the boredom and terrible execution of it all.

Though the film is admittedly bookended at the beginning and end by oddly watchable bursts of unintentionally charming and entertaining enjoyment, filled with odd dialogue and even odder characters, it's the boredom in the remaining 85 minutes that stands out once all is said and done, overpowering any and all enjoyment or interesting concepts it seems to have going for it. Yep, it's another stinker in the Amityville franchise. Go figure!

.... All this being said, I guess I do have to give the film some credit for having the balls to call itself Amityville Part 5 and yet be so thoroughly its own film. It doesn't work out as the filmmakers would have hoped, but ya kinda gotta admire that on some level. While the previous couple installments still somewhat tried to earn that Amityville moniker, this one doesn't even have the energy to bother. There's something strangely appealing about that sheer laziness and the sad attempt by the filmmakers at creating something unique. Then again, maybe I only say that because i'm kinda losing my mind from watching all of these back to back this week ....

I suppose it's worth noting that in addition to this being the only movie in the franchise to be a totally standalone film, it's also the only one that has never been released on DVD here in the states. It's easy to see why.


Cat said...

Totally off topic, but I saw this on amazon, and wondered how into novelizations of movies you are:

Apparently it's "better than the movie" and you can get some used copies pretty cheap..

Johnny said...

Hm, i'll have to check that out. Thanks for the heads up. Really gotta start reading more often than I have been lately!

Bjornabo said...

I might be wrong about this, but isn't this Amityville 5, and not "part 4" Johnny? ;-)

I've only seen the original and the 2005 remake, and by the looks of it (so far at least), it seems that i'm not missing out on much.

But on the other side, I sat through The Howling 1 - 7, so this can't be worse.

Johnny said...

Yup it's Part 5, that was a typo on my part. Good catch!

Caffeinated Joe (Wings) said...

One thing I have learned from your reviews is I have not been missing much by missing out on these sequels!