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observation notes: The Amityville Haunting

There's nothing like a good scare for Christmas, I always say, and this year The Asylum has given us just that with The Amityville Haunting, on DVD this coming Tuesday, the 27th.

The studio's fifth found-footage film (behind Monster, Paranormal Entity, 8213 Gacy House and Anneliese: The Exorcist Tapes), this one is a collection of home movies from and featuring the Benson family, who early last year moved into a house where 20 years earlier, a man named Robert Defeo Jr. murdered his whole family by shooting them each in the head. You'd think your Realtor would be required to tell you stuff like that. Nope, not if it happened more than three years ago. This is why they make ghost detection apps for iPhone and Android; just sayin' people, you gotta learn to take some spectral responsibility...

Anywho, as I don't like to give away any spoilers in my notes, and as found-footage films are pretty much twist after twist after twist, anything specific you say is giving away something, so I will comment only generally. Think of the film like Anneliese meets Paranormal Entity, a family in conflict with a deeper, darker power than they could have conceived of. The footage is raw, gruesome in spots, and guaranteed to make you jump. Things move very quickly here - only a month after moving in was the Benson Footage discovered - and get real weird real fast; there's a lot of supernatural activity going on in this house - I'd tell you not to blink or you'll miss some of the subtler notes, but I don't think you'll be blinking much. My only advice is to remember to breathe, otherwise, you're gonna pass out like seven minutes in.

If I'm honest, found-footage films aren't necessarily my cup of tea, not because I think they're overdone or anything like that, I just like a little more story than most of them provide. But The Amityville Haunting has a tangible and engaging narrative running through it; the film does not feel like a patchwork of random yet similar events, but rather a skillfully sewn together storyline that mounts in intensity from the first frame to a gut-wrenching crescendo 90 minutes later. Whoever The Asylum got to arrange this one did a bang-up job.

So bottom line, if you enjoy found-footage films, or just horror in general, guaranteed The Amityville Haunting has something that will make you scream. It's a fast-paced, fright-filled story sure to generate some uncomfortable empathy with the afflicted Benson family. It will also teach you to bone up on the history of buildings you consider buying to store your family in, and to maybe not move to notoriously haunted towns. Again, just sayin'...


  1. Such a rubbish review. This movie was horrible beyond belief. Did they pay you to write this?

  2. um, excuse me, surely there must be some mistake? this is possibly the worst movie ever, atrociously bad acting, lazy special effects and pretty much no storyline.... you must have either been paid to write this review, or just not really have much of a clue about what makes a good movie! Either way, it doesnt look very good on you ...

  3. I agree with the above 2 comments. This film reaks!!! Poorly made, and very badly edited. Granted its a "found footage" movie, but at least hire actors with SOME acting abilities. This genre has been dragged dead through a hedge far too many times now, it needs to be buried and left about ruining a classic!