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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Amityville Horror - review (1979) 31 Days of Horror #14

Premise:  After getting a great deal on their dream home, the Lutz's start to wonder if it is a dream home or a nightmare.

Review:  Horror films with a religious focus often affect me because of the way I was raised.  This is another film on the list of films I watched at too young of an age.  It scared me or maybe it scarred me... I avoided going into most basements on my own if at all possible.  After viewing it again, decades later, it did not have the same effect.

This is your standard haunted haunted house film - There are many elements of this film, the performances are serviceable,  the score is wonderfully old school creepy and some of the ongoings in the house are flat out creepy - dogs barking at basement walls, flies multiplying on the windows, visitors becoming violently ill, unknown voices, etc.  

Much of it works, it could just be ems a little dated for today's audiences.   There are some glaring inconsistencies that make the scares less effective and a finale that is anti-climatic and at times almost laughable (boy can that guy clean up quickly.)   It is not a bad film, but it could use the efforts of a more skilled filmmaker to rework some of the scenes.  And please, for your own sake do not waste your time on the recent remake, it was terrible.

I think the reason this film did as well as it did when it was first released was due to the popularity of Margot Kidder (my old crush was restored) coming off of the Christopher Reeves "Superman" film and the "Based on a true story" tagline that used to go a long way.

Scariness:             2.5 out of 5    Some great creepy moments, ruined by some not so creepy.

Gore/Violence:     1.5 out of 5   Blood that sometimes looks like Hershey's syrup may scare the kids or make them hungry.

Story:                    2.5 out of 5   Standard haunted house fare that could have risen above with a better script.

Overall rating (as a film, not just a horror film):  6 out of 10

Check out the rest of the reviews for FilmSnork's 31 Days of Horror here.

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