The Amityville Haunting (2011) poster

The Amityville Haunting (2011)

Rating:


USA. 2011.

[All Uncredited]

Crew

Director/Screenplay – Geoff Meed, Producer – David Michael Latt, Photography – Ben Demaree, Music – David Raiklen, Visual Effects Supervisor – Joseph J. Lawson, Production Design – Daniel Maldonado. Production Company – The Asylum.

Cast

Jason Williams (Douglas Benson), Amy Van Horne (Virginia Benson), Devin Clark (Tyler Benson), Nadine Crocker (Lori Benson), Gracie Largent (Melanie Benson), Jon Kondelik (Brett), Jon Gale (Officer Nathan), Tyler Shamy (Greg)


Plot

Husband and wife Douglas and Virginia Benson purchase the infamous Amityville House. They move in with their three children. The son Tyler starts filming everything with a video camera. There are several mysterious accidents around the house resulting in fatal deaths, as well as a patio door that keeps opening every night at 3:15 am. Tyler keeps trying to tell everyone the house is haunted and is ignored but eventually the others have to agree with him.


The Asylum is a company that specialises in Mockbusters – low-budget copies of more famous films, all sold with soundalike titles designed to come out at the time of their namesake releases. See the likes of The Da Vinci Treasure (2006), Snakes on a Train (2006), AVH: Alien vs Hunter (2007), The Hitchhiker (2007), I Am Omega (2007), Transmorphers (2007), Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls (2008), The Day the Earth Stopped (2008) 100 Million BC (2008), Sunday School Musical (2008), The 18 Year Old Virgin (2009), Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (2012), Age of the Hobbits (2012) and Atlantic Rim (2013), among others.

With The Haunting of Winchester House (2009), The Asylum came up with the idea of creating low-budget haunted house films that were sold with the association of famous supposedly haunted place names. Winchester House came out four days after Paranormal Activity (2007) went into wide US release and proved a smash phenomenon with its use of the Found Footage format. The Asylum quickly jumped on the bandwagon and offered up a series of Found Footage ghost stories set around famous ghost sites or ones associated with serial killers with the likes of Gacy House (2010), Anneliese: The Exorcist Tapes (2011), A Haunting in Salem (2011), The Haunting of Whaley House (2012), 100 Ghost Street: The Return of Richard Speck (2012) and The Bell Witch Haunting (2013).

In this case, they turned to making a Found Footage film out of the Amityville Horror phenomenon. This originated with the non-fiction book The Amityville Horror (1977) by Jay Anson that claimed to tell the story of the Lutz family who moved into the house but were driven out after 28 days by ghostly phenomena. The Amityville series gained its life on screen shortly after with the film adaptation The Amityville Horror (1979) and has led to some 20+ films since bearing the Amityville name (see below). It is worth noting that the whole phenomenon was actually a hoax that was concocted by George Lutz and Jay Anson and has been widely debunked on numerous points since then.

Nadine Crocer, Jason Williams and Amy Van Horne review the video footage in The Amityville Haunting (2011)1
(l to r) Daughter Nadine Crocer, father Jason Williams and mother Amy Van Horne review the video footage

The Amityville Haunting is cheaply made and unconvincing. It doesn’t even do Found Footage well – there is nothing in the way of jagged, broken camerawork or the characteristic look of flickering frames and static you usually get, all that we have is handheld camerawork being conducted with regular video cameras, while the latter half of the show intersperses this with Paranormal Activity-styled security cameras.

Even the hauntings are fairly lame – a door that opens of its own accord and a sinister figure that appears in some shots and interacts as an Imaginary Companion of the youngest daughter (Gracie Largent). The rest of the show gives us a series of jumpshocks in which a background character will turn up every so often – the realtor, a mover, Jason William’s army friend who installs the cameras – and is then killed or snatched from out of frame. Most of these are not very interesting, the sole amusement being where Jon Kondelik’s army friend is abruptly killed by a falling electrical cable.

The Amityville Haunting is directed by Geoff Meed, better known as an actor. He has had small acting roles, usually cast as heavies, in various films and tv shows since 1990, including a number of films from The Asylum. For The Asylum, he also wrote a number of scripts including I Am Omega (2007), Universal Soldiers (2007), 6 Guns (2010), Hold Your Breath (2012), Foreclosed (2013), Independents’ Day (2016), Operation Dunkirk (2017), Atlantic Rim: Resurrection (2018), D-Day (2019), San Andreas Mega Quake (2019) and Top Gunner (2020), and scripts for other companies with Bermuda Tentacles (2014). His only other outing as director has been the disaster movie Asteroid-a-Geddon (2020), also for The Asylum.

The other Amityville films are:– The Amityville Horror (1979), Amityville II: The Possession (1982), Amityville 3-D (1983), The Amityville Curse (1989), Amityville: The Evil Escapes (1989), Amityville 1992: It’s About Time (1992), Amityville: A New Generation (1993), Amityville: Dollhouse (1996), The Amityville Asylum (2013), Amityville Death House (2015), Amityville Playhouse (2015), The Amityville Legacy (2016), Amityville: No Escape (2016), Amityville Terror (2016), Amityville: Vanishing Point (2016), Amityville Exorcism (2017), Amityville: The Awakening (2017), The Amityville Murders (2018), The Dawn (2019), The Amityville Harvest (2020), Amityville Island (2020), Witches of Amityville Academy (2020), Amityville Cult (2021) and Amityville Scarecrow (2021). The Amityville Horror (2005) was a remake of the original. There have been several documentaries Amityville 2000/The Amityville Horror: 25 Years Later (2000), The Real Amityville Horror (2005) and Amityville: The Final Testament (2010), which tried to examine what happened in the house, while the parapsychological investigation into the house is also featured in The Conjuring 2 (2016).


Trailer here


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