Stars: Nicole Tompkins, Kaiwi Lyman-Mersereau, Kim Nielsen, Amanda Barton, Trevor Stines, Christy St. John, Tonya Kay, Bobby Emprechtinger, Lai-Ling Bernstein, Klaudia Kaye, Korey Knecht, Sarah Lieving, Cher Hubsher, Priscilla Emprechtinger, Jocelyn Saenz | Written by Amanda Barton | Directed by Michael Angelo
The Jacobsen family moves into an aged house in the town of Amityville. Almost immediately they witness strange occurrences and begin seeing terrifying images around the house. The local townspeople also have a secret and soon the Jacobsens are battling with an evil spirit in the house and the malicious locals who want them silenced…
After a stunning opening coda, The Amityville Terror soon decends into the same direct-to-market cash in we’ve come to expect from the Amityville series. At least this one doesn’t hang around too much: within twenty minutes we see our first haunting – a gory bath death that isn’t (much like other haunted house movies, our characters have numerous scary visions/experiences before succumbing to actual danger). After that the film follows a cliched path: someone in the house gets possessed, another is traumatised, whilst the teenager saves the day; and there’s some gore thrown in for good measure. Nothing new here at all, except…
In a surprise move, The Amityville Terror takes the fear outside of the home (and no, I don’t mean in an Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes way). Not only is the house haunted, but the townsfolk of the surrounding area are up to something too. At first the film leads you to believe everyone is just wary of the newcomers because of where they live. Then it’s revealed that there’s more to it than that – the townsfolk are literally working with the house, to make sure the occupants stay there to be fed to the house. It needs people to live there, and die there, to survive.
Whilst this new angle adds some interest to this film, ultimately The Amityville Terror doesn’t stray too far from the path of the films before it. If anything it does nothing new with the concept and instead picks pieces from the Amityville films that have come before it to weave its oh-so-familiar tale (there’s the return of the incest angle from Amityville 2, and I swear I saw a nod to The Omen too!).
Not the worst entry into the Amityville series (by any stretch of the imagination, there are MUCH worse entries out there) this film is redeemed, at least for me, with the final scene between Hailey, our heroine, and her now-possessed Aunt Shae. The scene looks like it’s stepped straight out of an early 90s DTV horror movie; in fact the make-up effects on Shae (played by this film’s writer Amanda Barton) reminded me very much of Brinke Stevens in Fred Olen Ray’s Haunting Fear – which gave The Amityville Terror extra bonus points from me!
The Amityville Terror is available on DVD and VOD now from 4Digital Media