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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Monday, January 30, 2023

The Amityville Murders (2018)

In this marathon I’ve gone on angrily about how bad some of the movies have been. Many have been a complete waste of time, and several had nothing to do with Amityville at all and just tacked the name on their title. But that is just me being frustrated with a bad filmmaker and at the end of the day I’ve never been genuinely angry because after all they are just movies, right? That chanted with The Amityville Murders.

This low budget affair tries to tell the story of the DeFeo family whose murders preceded the supposedly haunting covered by the book and movie by a year and a half. If you are unaware the eldest son of a large family, Ronald DeFeo Jr. took a rifle and murdered his family. He claimed to hear voices and after the “haunting” became big news embellished his story to take advantage of it. This fictional take on the DeFeo murders has the house being haunted by spirits summoned by Ronald and his sister using the secret book that their grandmother left them. The dad is also abusive, which is why as children they summoned the spirits, and apparently grandpa is connected to the mob or at least some shady figures.

How is this all important to a ghost story? Well after becoming a drug addict Ronald starts to see shadow people and hear voices coming from the walls. He tries to tell his sister to leave before something bad happens, but she comes back after he murders everyone to put her nightgown on and calmly lies in bed for her turn. Also, it is insinuated that grandma knows what is going to happen because they have angered the spirits of the house. Oh, and grandpa gets some missing money that I guess the ghosts had stolen. The end.

As a movie I found The Amityville Murders to be tedious. Nothing happens for long stretches and when they do try to create some atmosphere and be creepy, I wasn’t buying it. There are also a few attempts at jump scares, but they don’t work at all. This isn’t helped by the fact that this is yet another telling of a familiar story that anyone who has read a single article on the Amityville Hauntings already knows. Maybe that is why they decided to take some liberties with reality, but more on that later. Somehow, they also made an already boring experience all that worse with a terrible editing job that has the movie clocking in at over an hour and forty minutes. There isn’t enough going on to justify that.

The acting is a bit wooden, and I was disappointed that they brought back Burt Young who played the patriarch of the DeFeo family the first time around, only to give him next to nothing to do as the grandpa who shows up for just a few minutes. The filmmakers also decide to use some painfully terrible CGI which inexplicably they keep going back to and lingering on. These shots are bad and distracting. So as a movie this is a failure. If only that was all I had to say about this.

If you are one of those horror fans that gets their jollies by purchasing a sketch done by John Wayne Gacy or collects the toenail clippings of Ted Bundy, then you can piss off right now because I’m about to go off on you. The filmmakers here decided to do a movie about a real-life tragedy and make some “creative choices” that are utterly reprehensible. To suggest that the grandmother knew her family was in danger and in some way was responsible for it by leaving the book behind and knowing that the place was spooky is horrible. I get that it is total nonsense, but she was a real woman who lost her family not some fictional character. Then to double down on some unnecessary shot at the grandfather being connected with the pointless subplot about the missing money is bullshit. This was a real family who went thru a horrific event, and while the people mentioned above are long dead it is disgusting that the filmmakers decided to try and make a buck off them. You want to do shit like this then make your own movie with fictional characters!

Of course, like I’ve already pointed out they decided to go with the name recognition to make a few extra bucks. Before you think that I’m being too harsh and that I should get over it let me drop one final bit of information on you. Before the end credits roll, we get a photo montage that mixes pictures of the cast in with the crime scene photos of the real murders. This includes several shots of the bodies including the children who were murdered. They used pictures of dead kids in their movie to give it a bit more shock value. Still want to defend these assholes? I’ve taken people to task here on the site for being bad filmmakers or for phoning it in to make a few bucks. I think this is the first time that I’ve ever called anyone out for being a shitty human being instead of just a shitty filmmaker. I hope to never watch a movie again that makes me feel the need to do so.

Screw The Amityville Murders and screw the director, the writer, the producer, and anyone else who thought this was an okay thing to do. You are a bunch of assholes. I’ve said what I needed to. Now I’ll get back to reviewing regular old shitty movies.


© Copyright 2022 John Shatzer

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