Updated: Mar 12, 2020
Review by Kelly
“Newlyweds move into a large house where a mass murder was committed, and experience strange manifestations which drive them away."
The Amityville Horror is an infamous haunted house story. It is based off the book by American author Jay Anson and was published in 1977. The book is about the paranormal experiences of the Lutz family but apparently has led to some controversy over its truthfulness. I have also read that perhaps George Lutz was a terribly abusive man and that this behavior was the root cause of the allegations. Intriguing. The movie itself was released in 1979 and stars James “ Hot Dad” Brolin and Margot “Amazing” Kidder. The Amityville Horror became a film franchise which produced 15 films, one of them being the remake in 2005 and the latest movie in 2018, The Amityville Murders.
The movie follows the tale of the Lutz family (mom, step-dad, and three kids) as they move into a new house that a year previously saw a young man kill his entire family by shotgun blasts, execution style, while they slept. Subtle and classic signs of the house being haunted start happening - doors shutting, chairs moving. The local priest and confidante of Kathy Lutz comes to “bless” the house but immediately falls ill once inside and a ghostly voice tells him to “GET OUT!” He never does come back to the house, dick. Then George starts acting strange and feeling sick, looking haggard and less “Hot Dad” like and more “Toxic Male” like. He also chops a lot of wood because he is always cold. Shit then starts to get real and the walls begin to drip blood, the toilets overflow with black sludge. It takes only 20 days before the family can't take it anymore and they leave everything behind and never return.
I found The Amityville Horror to be quite underwhelming. The acting is decent and the theme is wonderful and obviously, that house is a horror icon, so I give it props for that. I have seen a good many of haunted house horror movies, and it isn’t my favorite subgenre actually. I often don’t find them scary and this one was definitely not at all terrifying for me. I jumped at that typical “cat scare” in the beginning - I actually jumped quite high, and so did my cats! I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the current family in the home and the brutality of the night of the murders. The explanation as to why why the house is haunted is fine (set on the opening to hell) but once the gate was discovered, it was just left open. The dog, the kids, literally anyone could have access to it (?!!?). It was just bizarre. I have a feeling the book is a much better spooky tale than the movie which I might seek out in the future.
Due to the fact that the movie contains a classic haunted house, I would recommend The Amityville Horror, but I would rather you watch The Changeling (see Jess’ monthly pick on this!), The Orphanage or Poltergeist.