Is this the one that puts the nail on the whole ‘found footage’ phenomena? We should be so lucky, but no… this isn’t the one. They’ll keep coming and some of us will keep watching. Thanks to my favorite film company The Asylum and their little found footage movie ‘The Amityville Haunting’ I’m thinking I’m one of those who will not be watching anymore found footage movies, including ‘Paranormal Activity 4’ if such a beast is in the works. Who are we kidding, of course it is.
Naturally you are familiar with the Amityville house that vexed James Brolin and many others in some of the worst sequels known to man. Well that house in Long Island is back on the market and the Benson’s need someplace to live. I guess we should mention some horny young adults broke into the house in this movie’s opening scene looking for someplace to screw, because everyone knows that the best place to get down is a joint where multiple murders have taken place. Actually it was a lame excuse to squeeze some random tits in the movie. Regardless, Douglass (Jason Williams) the patriarch of the Benson clan, thinks this place is ideal mainly because its dirt cheap. His shrill wife Virginia (Amy Van Horne) thinks that they should’ve looked around some more since people drop dead at an amazing rate at this house. You know, the realtor, the movers, neighbor kids. But Doug assures us it’s just a coincidence.
How do we know all of this since this isn’t like a real movie with a camera crew and stuff? We can thank the Benson’s obnoxious young son Tyler (Devin Clark) for this. This kid videotapes everything. The most sensitive family conversations, his older sister taking a shower, or absolutely nothing having anything to do with anything haunted apparitions killing folks… this kid’s videotaping it.
One of the things that this kid likes to video tape is his baby sister talking to her imaginary friend. Look… if you move into a known haunted house and the youngest kid starts talking to something… it’s not a phase, that thing they’re talking to is not imaginary, and eventually this thing that the kid is talking to is going to kill you. Who doesn’t know this? Plus the house is doing the usual haunted house stuff such as doors
flying open for no reason, lights coming on and off, weird apparitions hiding in plain sight and all kinds of freaky stuff. Ah… but that teenage daughter has some serious behavioral problems so she gets all the blame and it’s obvious that one her many boyfriends are causing this ruckus. To fix this, Mr. Benson, a former army guy which we can plainly see by his using the army time telling nomenclature, has called his special forces buddy to set up traps to catch whatever it is that’s causing trouble in this house. The Amityville House. That a half dozen people have died at already since this movie started. The mom may be shrill, but at least she knows what’s up. Dad is an idiot. How lucky are we that somebody found this footage?
Sure enough, to the surprise of very few out there, ‘The Amityville Haunting’ is awful. Absolutely terrible. There are reasons for this which I imagine I am obligated to go into, such as the fact that our little cameraman might’ve wanted to take a camera lesson or two before losing this found footage, or the fact that bad acting shouldn’t be an issue for a found footage style movie considering that everybody should be acting naturally and stuff, or that for a horror movie there were episodes of ‘Welcome back Kotter’ that were scarier… but that’s all negative stuff and as anybody knows we only focus on the positives here at the FCU.
For instance take the dad. He’s a former army guy and as such he speaks in army lingo all the time. We mentioned the zero eight hundred hours nonsense instead of saying eight o’clock, but he takes his army chatter to another level. My dad was in the army for thirty five years and never ever did he yell ‘DOUBLE TIME’ at me or say ‘Front and Center Soldier!’ or have a ‘nam flashback where he hit the deck, told the family to get down and look out for Charlie. And I loved my dad before I saw this movie and learned what a crap childhood I had. And he always said 8 o’clock. Sheesh.
Another cool thing about this otherwise awful movie was… uh… the ending wasn’t so bad. In fact after suffering through an hour and half of pain, the family getting wasted was kind of nice. That’s not a spoiler because the tagline actually says ‘The family didn’t survive… but the footage did’, or something like that. Plus the movie was directed by Geoff Mead which probably means little to you, but we have noticed that the Asylum takes care of their own, so with Geoff Mead having worked in more than his fair share of Asylum flicks as an actor, it’s only fair that they let him direct. That’s solid.
So if you want to listen to some idiot talk army talk when it’s not necessary and not be scared, then ‘The Amityville Haunting’ isn’t all that bad. Within that small criteria, that’s about as positive as we can be.