Let’s go back to the house.
The Amityville franchise might be the longest running series in horror. We’re pushing thirty films all loosely connected to the original tale. Here, we have a straight to video sequel that fits in somehow, I guess.
The links to the original home and haunting are becoming increasingly tenuous as the series goes on. Here, we don’t see how it relates to the series until quite late, which makes me think the name is being used more as a way to get audiences into new horror films than any sort of plot connection.
Anyway, this time we follow Keyes (Ross Partridge), a young photographer who the movie seems to want to be a jerk and a decent person at the same time. A homeless man gives him a mirror and the mirror is haunted. It all relates back to Keyes’ childhood at Amityville and does anyone else smell burning?
I do wonder if this movie is made up of two shelved scripts that got blended with the Amityville brand to make a quick release. The mirror seems like a completely separate story from Keyes’ childhood and memories of his father going mad. The two halves are held together by chunky glue, and we can see that it was not smoother over.
The split in timeline also means that we end up with two different tones and feelings for the film. While some of the characters stretch both arcs, many are killed before the introduction to the real problem.
While the film is a bit of a mess it does have an odd charm that is hard to ignore. I’m not sure how to put it, but this is the type of lazy afternoon horror film you’d see on television as a child and it was good enough to have on in the background while you did something else. I found myself drawn to menial tasks while it played but never had the inclination to turn the film off. I do think there is a place for this sort of film, but how do you recommend it? Need something to watch while you’re balancing your checkbook? Hardly a strong suggestion.
There are numerous issues in the film, and the characters aren’t interesting enough to smooth over the problematic plot points (though they are good enough to root for). However, this is not simply a cash grab. Here we have a team of folks who did make an attempt at doing something entertaining. The film has no pretense in being anything more than a somewhat flashy (though technically limited) horror film for fun. The earnestness can be felt and the lack of commercial cynicism covers a lot of sins. Though not them all.
In the end I wish this was the type of horror film still made for television viewing to entice younger folks to explore the genre more. This is a safe horror film where the stakes are limited and a younger or less exposed viewer isn’t confronted with as much darkness as the greater films are. I see these movies as an important aspect of the genre that has been ruined by soulless and almost exclusively found-footage no-budget crap produced to squeeze money from people.
For fans of Amityville this one may be worth watching. Otherwise, it probably won’t function as much more than a nostalgia trip.