Saturday, May 9, 2009

Final Girl Film Club: Amityville II: The Possession (1982) Review

My recollections of the original Amityville Horror aren’t great. The film database in my brain has an entry that simply says “boring movie about a house in which not a lot happens”. I have a clearer memory of the Amityville Horror 2005 remake, but it failed to light my torch for pretty much the same reason. The story of a bunch of uninteresting people who move into a house that makes them all a little cranky just doesn’t seem to work very well. Like Children Of The Corn, I never really understood how such a dull film became a franchise and I’ve not seen any of the sequels, until now...

Amityville II: The Possession starts out like the original. A family of uninteresting people, two parents and four kids, move into a house (which I think is supposed to be scary looking given the protracted shots of it and the overwrought music score that accompanies it), only to, again, very slowly become a bit cranky with one another. For a whole hour not a lot happens. Then, all of a sudden, as if the film makers had just seen The Exorcist on VHS and decided it would be way cooler to make a movie like that, there’s a bloodbath at the house and a priest gets involved trying to exorcise the protagonist who’s become the antagonist.

The performances can be evenly divided up into “solid” and “rubbish”. Dad (Burt Young), and the eldest daughter (Diane Franklin) are pretty good. Franklin’s right breast is particularly appealing, even if the circumstances in which it is revealed are completely unbelievable. On the other hand, Mum (Rutanya Alda) and the eldest son (Jack Magner) are laugh-out-loud hopeless. In fairness, Mum is too often asked to looked scared of absolutely nothing, so her overblown reactions to, well, nothing, seem completely ridiculous. Jack Magner, on the other hand, is tasked with being menacing, and it should come as no surprise to anyone who’s seen his short CV, that he categorically fails to do so. When he’s supposed to appear evil he just looks retarded.

The fact that Amityville II two starts like an Amityville movie but ends like an Exorcist rip-off actually makes it fifty percent better than a plain old Amityville movie. I actually kind of enjoyed the film after the one hour mark. Although I’m not sure whether the last act seemed more interesting than it really was due to the fact that the first hour is so dull.

Related Links:
Final Girl Film Club
Final Girl

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