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Amityville II: The Possession (1982)

| October 16, 1982 | 0 Comments

It becomes clear pretty early in “Amityville II: The Possession” that the people who made this movie are hoping that you don’t go into it asking too many questions. Unfortunately, if you have the slightest bit of interest in this picture it is mainly because you saw “The Amityville Horror” and probably liked it. Bless your heart. If this is you (and why would you be reading the review if you didn’t have an interest in this movie) then, all during this picture, you’ll be plagued with a series of questions that will, no doubt, confound and frustrate you. My frustration and hatred for this film might reasonably end there, but it actually goes deeper than that. It’s one thing to sit through a frustrating film; it’s another thing to sit through one that bores you into a coma. How do I hate this film? Let me count the ways:

1.) The title. This is a prequel to “The Amityville Horror”, telling the story of the events leading up to that movie. There’s a “II” in the title leading you to believe that the events in this movie actually take place after the first picture. How difficult would it have been to simply call the picture “Amityville: The Possession”?

2.) The timing. The original film took place in 1979, and the events that led to that movie took place in 1974. This film takes place in 1982. Since this film supposedly takes place before the original, why does everything look and sound like it came from the early 80s? When exactly does this film take place?

3.) The house. Okay, it’s impressive, with those half-moon windows, yet as I’ve worked my way through this torpid series, I can’t help but admit that the windows on that house make for a better poster than a movie. Let’s face it, there is only so much that you can do with creepy windows. The house, once you get inside, is pretty substandard for a haunted house movie. It rattles and clangs and bangs with rotating furniture, rattling cabinets and slamming windows (which is odd because it is established that the windows are nailed shut). To say nothing of the fact that – spoiler alert – the house blows up at the end of the movie. So what house did the characters in the original film move into? Did someone build an exact duplicate of the same house?

4.) The characters. They’re a family, and not a happy one. The Montelli’s problems seem to begin and end with dad’s bullying temper. Dad (Burt Young) smacks the kids around when he’s not smacking the wife around. The family is made up of mostly generic family types. There’s the put-upon wife (Rutanya Alda), the drink-your-milk white-bred daughter (Diane Franklin), the young boy and girl (Brent and Erika Katz) whose entire dialogue is made up of the two of them saying the same thing at the same time. And of course, there’s the teenage son, who we know will succumb to “The Possession.” Here’s the issue: the family’s drama involving dad’s abuse is much more frightening than anything else in the movie. Take out the special effects and it might have actually been a better movie.

5.) The facts. If you saw the original film, it opened with the murders, an unseen person with a shotgun walking around the house from room to room murdering his family in their beds. Supposedly, the same murders take place midway through this film, they don’t match up. Is this a different family? Okay, here I have to give the film the benefit of the doubt, the original film was attempting to tell the story of the Amityville house, but this one fudges on the facts. The family from the original murders was named DeFeo. This family is called Montelli. So, do the events here match up to the original or not? They seem to indicate so.

6.) The plagiarism. More time is spent during this movie considering the movie that this movie rips off. Let’s see, we’ve got “The Exorcist”, “Poltergeist”, “The House on Haunted Hill”, “The Haunting”, even the rip-offs of these movies are better than this one.

7.) The result. The movie stinks. It’s isn’t scary, nor is it of the slightest bit of interest. It’s frustrating, and worst of all boring. The pacing is too slow, the story is monotonous and repetitive. The end result is that there are probably a dozen documentaries out there about the DeFeo tragedy, and the subsequent events that let to “The Amityville Horror.” Truth is stranger than fiction, they say, and so that story is more interesting than this one.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1982) View IMDB Filed in: Horror, Thriller