Friday, June 3, 2011

Amityville Week - Amityville : It's About Time

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Taking the franchise into its third decade, Amityville : It's About Time was released theatrically under the moniker Amityville 1992 : It's About Time, though that title was changed over the years presumably so the film didn't come off as being dated. In fact, the most recent DVD release of the film from Lionsgate, the one I personally own, has the "1992" portion of the title crudely blocked out with a big black square during the film's opening credits. Whatever you want to call it, It's About Time follows a similar plotline as The Evil Escapes, with an architect bringing home an antique clock from Amityville, which he found in the infamous house which was "tore down for development" (still no continuity in these things!). Obviously, the clock brings pure evil into the house and the man's son, daughter and ex-fling experience its full wrath.

It's About Time is quite the fitting title for this installment not only because the movie literally deals with the concept of time, but also because at this point it was about time that some watchability was brought back to the franchise, which it totally is with this sixth entry. Not only that, but decent acting and three dimensional (and dare I say likeable) characters are also brought back to the fold, which hadn't been seen in these movies in quite some time, as is the actual Amityville house itself. Though it only appears during sequences of characters having visions of the past, the iconic imagery of the house is all over the place during the film and in fact, the house the architect and his family live in is very much modeled to look like a more modern day version of that house, creepy eye windows and all, which is a really cool idea as the new house seems to be mirroring the old one.

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Taking that idea one step further, the possessed clock in the film is seemingly trying to turn the new house into the old one and can, at times, alter the scenery of the house in the characters' eyes to make it look like the house did in the past, which sets up for a pretty interesting backstory on the original house that goes further back in time than any sequel had previously done thus far. It's kind of interesting that the film is centered around the concept of time and this clock that is trying to bring the house back to its former glory, because you really get the sense that the filmmakers were trying to do the same with the franchise in this one. In my opinion they succeeded admirably, creating the most enjoyable entry in the series since Part 2 way back in the early 80's and in turn, giving the franchise as a whole a second chance at life. For the first time since The Possession, it actually feels like the movie was made by filmmakers who genuinely cared about the subject matter. It was directed by the same guy (Tony Randel) who previously did Hellraiser 2, another highly praised sequel, so it seems it was in good hands from the get go.

It's About Time is full of great effects and some pretty cool and memorable scenes, which include a brutal dog vs man fight, a teen boy gloriously being sucked down a storm drain right before he's about to get laid and a chick's reflection coming through a mirror she's looking into and engaging in some pretty hot lesbian sex with ... herself. In addition, there's a Dick Miller cameo (always a treat) and a lot of great uses of the black goo that was seen in the original film. And again, there are plenty enough visions of the original house to keep the film topical. The architect is slowly driven mad by the clock, which makes him sit up in his room obsessively drawing the original house over and over again. In addition, he even whips up an architectural model of a town that is filled with nothing but replicas of that house, which his possessed self plans on building. After the bastardization of that location in the previous couple installments, it's nice to finally see that imagery be restored in the franchise. It's About Time also brings back the 'possessed to kill' angle that hadn't been seen since The Possession and let me once again say, it was about time that idea reared its ugly head again. Amityville finally feels like Amityville again with this one. Hallelujah!

In my opinion, this is one of the best installments in the franchise that i've watched thus far, and I enjoyed it as much if not more than I did the second one. It's just a shame that the series turned to such shit in the previous couple installments, because a lot of people probably gave up on the whole thing before this one came around. If you're one of those people, I highly encourage you to head back to 1992 and give this one a watch.

After a decade long draught of shittyness, it appears as if the franchise is finally back on track. With two installments left to go, we'll see how long that lasts ...

2 comments:

Caffeinated Joe (Wings) said...

Huh. Well, that was unexpected! I was sure your reviews were going to get less and less fun as the movies spiraled into nonsense. How surprising that the series seems to have rebounded!

Johnny said...

Was very pleasantly surprised to find myself writing a positive review this late in the series!!