AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING (2017) – horror movie review

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By Melissa Antoinette Garza

 

AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING (2017) was filmed a few years back and has been repeatedly shelved since.  Cursed with delays and reshoots that spanned nearly 5 years, the lore behind the film was far more interesting than the production itself.

When it was finally released last month, I couldn’t wait to see it.  The trailer looked awful and thus I kept my fingers crossed for something of the so-bad-it’s-good variety.   Typically, I dive right in and purchase movies rather than renting them, but my husband threw a curveball when he rented it from Redbox; and to be honest, it was the right play to make.  Unless a family member has a starring role, I can’t think of any reason to own it.

That said, it isn’t dreadful.  MEH is probably the best word to describe it.  It’s watchable and silly enough to keep one’s interest.  Still, there’s so much wrong with it.  Major plots disappear halfway through the film, lead characters vanish and the final scene is so abrupt and ridiculous it leaves the viewer scratching their head.

The film begins with high-school goth girl Belle (Bella Thorne), her little sister Juliet (McKenna Grace) and her catatonic twin brother James (Cameron Monaghan) being uprooted by their mother Joan (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville.

It’s important to note, that this movie is not a continuation of any other Amityville movie.  In fact, Belle is introduced to the DeFeo legend via her friends that show her the 1979 original, the prequel and the 2005 remake.

In the first half of the movie, Belle’s two teen friends play a pivotal role, but they are unseen and unheard from again come the second and third act.  They just disappear.

Belle becomes concerned about the home’s history when James makes a very unexpected, and frankly impossible, recovery.  Joan is too ecstatic to hear any of Belle’s concerns.  Knowing that James would most likely follow the same path as Ronnie DeFeo Jr., she focuses on protecting Juliet from the inevitable demonic force.

That sums up the story.  There are a few cool aspects within the film.  As Belle’s suspicions increase she tears apart the same wall she watched get torn down in the ’79 production.  It was an inventive way for her to discover that the movie was based in reality.

Overall, the acting was fine.  Monaghan was stuck with some atrocious CGI which destroyed any scenes that had momentum for tension while completely hindering his acting.

The final scene is one of the most puzzling as it spends a long time giving repeated exposition via a news report.  It’s such an odd placement, it makes me wonder if this was done in post-production as none of the actors are there and headshots are used when the reporter discusses them.

According to IMDB, AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING was originally rated R, but then was edited down to a PG-13.  I’m very curious to see what the deleted scenes or alternate endings were as it had to explain more than this film did.

I wonder if Belle’s friends met some kind of tragic fate too graphic for the kid friendly audience.  Whatever the case, the film ended up being pretty pointless.  It’s better than the remake, but not as unintentionally funny.

On a side note, upon watching the movie I saw it was made by The Weinstein Company.   As Bella Thorne is very young and very beautiful, I certainly hope she was spared the indecency of Harvey SLIMEBALL Weinstein, but I fear the worst.

 

Scared Stiff Rating:  4.5/10