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Streaming Alert:: Amityville: The Awakening (2017)

October 23rd, 2017 by unkle lancifer · 6 Comments

I know it’s not easy to muster up enthusiasm for yet another Amityville sequel but this latest addition has at least two difficult to resist things going for it: it stars the always compelling JENNIFER JASON LIEGH and it’s currently absolutely FREE on GOOGLE PLAY. Another ace up its sleeve is that the action takes place at the legendary pumpkin-eyed house on 112 Ocean Avenue (or at least a faithful recreation of it) rather than following a cursed inanimate object that managed to escape from it. That may not seem like much. but I will forever be a little unnerved by the mere sight of that creepy Dutch Colonial and am so relieved not to have to follow a lamp, mirror, clock or dollhouse to another address. This new edition could surely use some major renovations (The lighting is often inadequate, there’s not enough JENNIFER JASON LEIGH and the editing makes you feel like it’s been pruned to the stem with a weed-whacker) but it manages to be fairly entertaining anyway. It’s nowhere near the high point of the franchise (that would be AMITYVILLE 2: THE POSSESION (1982), of course!) but it’s leaps beyond the franchise low point (I’ll never accept you as canon THE AMITYVILLE CURSE (1990)!) Oh and did I mention, it’s FREE?

AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING takes place in a wacky universe in which characters are able to watch the original 1979 film on TV (after referencing its sequel and rejecting its remake) that is somehow also a dimension where the house is super affordable and the famous “High Hopes” sign lingers unsold on ebay in the basement. I suppose it’s possible that Goth girl Belle (actress, singer, Cocoa Pebbles cover model BELLA THORNE) has never heard of the Amittyville legend before moving into her new home but it seems highly unlikely. How could anyone say “I’m moving to Amityville” without hearing “THE Amityville?” in response. I mean, can you even type “Amityville “ into your computer without be greeted by those wicked windows staring back at you (I just tried and the answer is no)? Anyway, the ”reality” we’re placed in is hard to swallow and even though it’s not a deal breaker, it tends to dismantle the film’s credibility. Where the film works best is in the family dysfunction department; Belle’s twin brother (CAMERON MONAGHAN) is lost in a coma that she feels personally responsible for and a rather convincing cloud of sickness, grief and existential dread hangs over the family. It’s this aspect of the film that makes it difficult to shrug off completely. LEIGH could sell me the Brooklyn Bridge if she wanted and I think if the film spent more time mining her emotional dilemma and less time courting the teen crowd, there would be a more effective result.

You know how AMITYVILLE 3-D (1983) is mostly balk-worthy lunacy but then there’s that super haunting scene where TESS HARPER encounters the soaked, blank-eyed ghost of her daughter LORI LOUGHLIN and her frenzied denial and grief is palpable afterwards? So goes AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING in a way. It’s mostly hoarding familiar creaky house, jolt scares but there’s a somewhat legit subterranean stream of pathos as well. When the Evil of the house begins to infest and rejuvenate Belle’s comatose brother, it’s easy to sympathies with the family’s reluctance to care that the divine intervention is coming from below rather than above. I also feel I should give this flick some props for at least alluding to my favorite underused Amityville character Jodie, by way of a startling pig mask (in a perfect world Jodie would have an entire spin off franchise of her own). Anyway, no matter how you slice this ham, there’s no denying it is worth the paltry price of FREE and even an only partially successful Amityville movie is a welcome Halloween treat to yours truly. Check it out HERE and my apologies in advance, you should know better than listen to someone who thinks AMITYVILLE 4: THE EVIL ESCAPES (1989) is the bee’s knees (or the fly’s thighs?).

Tags: General Horror




6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Caffeinated JoeNo Gravatar // Oct 23, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    I have watched the others, so I don’t see any reason to stop my masochistic horror-viewing habits now.

    I have never watched a movie via Google Play. It seems so… digital. Maybe that will be the true horror of it all.

  • 2 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Oct 24, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Caffeinated Joe,

    I have to say they did a great job of recreating the house. It looks exactly as it did in part 2 (and slight spoiler alert) when the son becomes fully possessed I think they smartly lift a few visuals from part 2- I think he even looks over his shoulder in a similar fashion.

    I needed a few more grounded, getting to know the character scenes and I have a suspicion they existed and were the first thing edited out in an effort to make the movie faster and more audience friendly. That’s the theory in my head anyway. If there was a longer cut I’d give it a chance.

    Google Play was very simple to use. We already have a gmail account so I just had to sign in. I made sure to turn off all of the lights and attach my trusty speaker too. There were some scenes where it was really hard for me to see what was going on which seems kind of sloppy for a movie with a decent budget. But maybe it can be blamed on my eyes, my computer or the beer I was drinking.

    Anyway- this movie kept my interest and I’m glad I checked it out. It’s hard to defend but I think that’s pretty much true for every Amityville movie (except 2). I also just recently watched AMITYVILLE: A NEW GENERATION and so it’s hard to complain about this one. I enjoyed being on that property again! They need to fix the boathouse though! It’s a wreck!

  • 3 Caffeinated JoeNo Gravatar // Oct 24, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    I am probably going to watch on your recommendation. I have watched much worse. Ah well, such is the life of a horror fan. 😉

  • 4 Caffeinated JoeNo Gravatar // Oct 25, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Watched last night. I didn’t love it. Jennifer Jason Leigh seemed to be trudging through her role. And Bella Thorne is not a great lead. The plot was interesting for an Amityville pic, just didn’t all come together. That said, I have seen much worse. Thanks for the heads up! 🙂

  • 5 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Oct 25, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Caffeinated Joe,

    Glad you checked it out! I felt bad about singling out Thorne as the weakest link but you are so right! I think maybe if she and the girl from school switched roles it would have worked better. She’s just not very relatable or at least not relatable enough to carry so much of the film. Would have been better as the sidekick/friend.

    But yeah- there’s something still sort of interesting about the coma/possession stuff. I liked the idea of the mother being so intent on having her kid back that she was willing to ignore how he was getting well again.

    I’m going to file it under “interesting but not successful” and most of all I’m glad it was free! I hope they keep that fake Amityville house standing – maybe they can use it for another movie!

  • 6 splatterthrashNo Gravatar // Nov 7, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Ooof, agree on Curse and I love Escapes. It’s About Time is my favorite because it’s so bonkers: https://youtu.be/0FWHqSbOTes

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