Monday, January 9, 2023

Amityville: The 3Dening

It's been a pleasantly bonkers romp on Shudder through some of the Amityville Horror sequels, but it's HBO Max that currently houses the franchise's 3D entry. So break out those paper glasses and a dose of the inevitably needed headache medication and let's go!

Quick Plot: A couple who have lost their son hire a pair of psychics for a seance held in the old Amityville home. Just as a mystical orb of light shows up, so do the cameras, quickly revealing the smoke and mirrors as our couple reveal their own identities: reporters John and Melanie looking to debunk the Warren-esque shams. 

Upon further investigation, John gets an even better scoop: the Amityville property is for sale at quite the bargain. To help kickstart his divorce, he closes the deal and promptly moves in to find his realtor dead. Though we witnessed his fatal 3D fly mauling, there's no trace of the supernatural by the time the medics show up.

John has no issue with a man dying on his property before he's had a meal in its kitchen, but Melanie has a sneaking suspicion that there's something darker going on. Photographs taken the day before show the deceased distorted. Nobody else seems to care. 

As with most Amityville films, unexplainable events continue to occur in or around the house. John almost dies in an elevator, while Melanie nearly freezes to death when the house's power goes out and doors lock her in. John and his daughter Susan (pre-Hallmark, pre-prison Lori Loughlin) remain dubious until, of course, it's too late. 

Well, too late for some, though John counts no less than three dead people that have come into contact with the house only to die right after. 

Directed by Soylent Green's Richard Fleischer, Amityville 3D is surprisingly decent as actual film quality goes. It moves better than the overrated original and feels in some ways more professionally put together than the seedy (but effective) part 2. Much like Jaws 3D, this is a movie that would hold up perfectly well had it not been for its reliance on terribly aging technology.

That being said, it's hard to fully enjoy Amityville 3D after the goofier wackiness of what came after. Evil Escapes is about a haunted floor lamp going Maximum Overdrive on Patty Duke! Amityville Dollhouse includes a portal to hell and rubber tarantula. It's About Time is about a killer clock and ends with a character saying IT'S ABOUT TIME! 

Amitvyille 3D is, like, a real movie attempting to do real things. It comes very close to succeeding, but its effectiveness will mostly depend on its audience's ability to look past the limits of dated style. It obviously will vary.

High Points
Considering its incredibly dark origins, it's not a surprise that Amityville movies often go there when it comes to young victims. Amitvyille 3D is no exception, with a surprisingly effective ghost reveal of a character you expect to be safe

Low Points
Not surprisingly, watching an '80s shot 3D film in flat 2022 times makes the scares a little, you now, silly

Lessons Learned
You only have to look at a man to know he's sick

Sex with a ghost is fantastic (at least that's what a baby-faced Meg Ryan has read)

Next time you need a good screamer, call Robert Joy 

I was surprised to find Amitvyille 3D a far better film than expected, though slightly disappointed that it wasn't quite as fun as later series entries. That being said, it's not a bad way to spend 90 minutes and genuinely offers up a few surprises. One could do a whole lot worse. 

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