Review: The Amityville Horror (1979)

It’s October!

And that means horror! Tales to astonish and amaze!

Image result for scream gif

We begin with a Horror. An Amityville Horror. THE Amityville Horror, to be specific. A tale that will shock, and terrify! The more sensitive among you may wish to switch off your computers. Worry not, there is no shame in cowardice. Exits are located at the front and rear of the auditorium.

Then again, nobody’s getting terrified by this movie. Or even really scared. At all. Not even a little bit. Maybe you could get a laugh out of it. Like this bit:

Or this one:

Or really anything with the preacher:

The Amityville Horror, despite often being listed among the “classics” of 70’s horror, and pretty much being a household name, is not really highly regarded by anyone. It wasn’t scary then, it’s certainly not scary now. I’m not even sure what’s supposed to be scary in it. The weird “cellar to hell” red glow? The dog pulling James Brolin out of the mud? The flies? The kid getting their hands crushed by a window? Whatever is supposed to scare doesn’t accomplish it at all.

A horror film without scares doesn’t have to be bad, although it’s not accomplishing its goal. It could have memorable characters, such as Rachel and Jamie Lloyd in the unscary Halloween 4. But Amityville doesn’t have even that. Sure, James Brolin and Margot Kidder sounds like a great combination, but their chemistry is overwhelmed by nonsensical arcs and bizarre motivations. Brolin is sort of being driven crazy like Jack in The Shining, but not really, because he just overcomes it without explanation, and Kidder’s just there. The kids are so forgettable that it felt like there were a different number in existence in every scene. The plot is meandering and lacking in suspense, tension, or dramatic heft. But it’s not all bad. It works as background noise, I guess?

The film is just a prototypical “haunted house” story, and it doesn’t transcend the genre the way that films like The Haunting, The Others, and Poltergeist do.

Speaking of Poltergeist, this film is very much a boring, terrible version of that. Give me Poltergeist any day over this trite. At least that had the bizarre but winning duo of Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg. This just has the bland direction of Stuart Rosenberg and the bland screenplay of the man who brought you Pin and Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes. Look, if the man didn’t write Amityville 3-D, then I’m not interested.

It’s amazing how little of consequence occurs in this movie, but it’s not all bad. A subpar 70’s horror film with boring performances from a solid cast and a near-complete lack of tension or even scares, The Amityville Horror takes on life best as background noise for busy work, and earns a D.

d grade

Watched this recently, thought I’d write about it as the first horror movie of October. Wouldn’t recommend it unless you just can’t get enough of that Brolin beard.

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Oh, yeah…

Next post’ll be soon probably within a week, about Halloween II and Halloween III. See you then. Bye!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. emmakwall says:

    The remake is actually better!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Have actually heard that, though I’ve yet to check it out. Probably get to it someday, after Amityville II: The Possession and Amityville 3D.


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