Thursday, January 3, 2013

Amityville 3-D: The Demon

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Amityville 3-D (in 2-D): The Demon – 2 out of 5

I’ve reviewed the original, the remake that is more focused on Ryan Reynolds’ abs than trying to scare the audience and I recently sat through the first of the franchise’s sequels that was actually a prequel. Now I’m reviewing the next sequel that is technically not a sequel due to an old lawsuit and the concept that the first two films are suppose to be “real” events and this begins the fictional world—or some shit. This only makes sense to the producer who was hopped up on cocaine and some extract made from bull semen.

Also men in matching trench coats.

Amityville 3-D (in 2-D—the only DVD releases of it in actually 3-D are in the UK) follows a recently divorced writer; John Baxter (Tony Roberts), from a skeptic magazine who’s out to debunk the hauntings that occurred at the infamous house on 112 Ocean Avenue. The film opens with Baxter calling out some old people in the house on their bullshit as they scam people out of their money making them believe there is some spooky shit going on. Afterwards, the owner of the house convinces Baxter to buy the house and he ultimately concedes and decides it’s a good place to write his book. Eventually, the demon in the house starts to do his work—and not like that lazy demon in Paranormal Activity who takes nearly thirty years to do anything of real consequence . The demon takes the lives of those around him and provides some spooky sequences in the house—that, for some reason, John never notices…so maybe this demon is a little more proactive than the PA one but he’s not very effective. With the help of his friend and fellow debunker; Elliot West (Robert Joy), John Baxter needs to get to the bottom of the mystery of the house and clear the conscience of his hysterical ex-wife; Nancy Baxter. I think she just has a thing against houses…maybe she’s a condo girl.

He just found out that Gotham already has a Batman villain with half his face scarred.

If you remember my reviews of the previous films (including the remake which is technically, when compared to this film, a future film), I wasn’t the biggest fan of them. The original film and its remake don’t do anything particularly wrong—in fact, the original is a cult classic—it’s just that I didn’t find them to be very scary or that compelling of a story. Not to mention the fact that the book they are based on are sold as a “true story” but were realistically just a couple of douches out to scam some people out of their money. And as far as the sequel…the incest part was just creepy…but not creepy in the way a horror film should be. Not surprisingly, this third addition to the franchise keeps the batting record of scares at zero but unlike the other films, this one is entertaining in the fact that it’s so ridiculous that it becomes funny—just what the director was going for [citation needed].

He HAD to be going for funny.  If not, then why did he put a Velcro wig on his lead actor?

Right away the concept that this film is not a sequel because the previous two films are suppose to be “real events” is enough to make me chuckle over. It’s been pretty much established that the Lutz family was lying out of there asses and were just looking to get famous with their story and this movie only works to prove that further as the real (and real as in actually happened) story behind why it’s not a sequel is the fact the Lutz family was in the midst of a lawsuit with the film’s producer Dino De Laurentis for, what else, royalties. I guess if you’re going to get your ass haunted you might as well make some money off the deal. 

"Please don't get in my way, I have to make business."

This idea that it is not an official sequel becomes even more laughable when you realize that they are referencing the other films within its story. So, I need to get this straight: The first two films were based on “real events” so that means they are “real” and part of the Amityville canon but this one is just a work of fiction so it means that it’s not a sequel but the not sequel will reference the “real events” like they happened within the not sequel’s reality? Makes all the sense in the world.

I'm only in the third film and I'm already tired of looking at this house.

To be honest, I’m kinda surprised that head of the Lutz liars family would NOT want to be apart of this movie due to the fact that the film’s protagonist; the skeptic John Baxter, was based on the real life man of Stephen Kaplan; an individual who was out to prove that the Lutz family was a collection of liars and charlatans—something the Lutz family proved all on their own. Baxter enters the film as a confident man out to unearth liars that are out to cheat believers out of money but as the film progresses, Baxter becomes a dimwit oblivious to the ghost events happening literally right behind him (no kidding, the demon actually makes the bathroom smaller at one point and Baxter doesn’t even realize it) before he sees the demon with his own eyes and becomes a believer—and ultimately, a hero who saves his ex-wife from the monster. Yes, the subtle attack on the man who was out to show the truth about the Amityville house was about as witty and as well crafted as a toddler calling another toddler a “big fat doo doo head” after his story about how his father beat up Superman and an atomic bear at the same time was called into question. You would think George Lutz would have been all over this project…he probably would have also added the creative input of giving Baxter irritable bowel syndrome and had him crap his pants when he first saw the demon—right after he was raped by a jaguar.

"Hey Dad, good news:  I got a job on a morning show in San Francisco and I met a guy
who's in a band and lives with two other men and some underage kids."

The only thing really mentionable about the movie (other than the laughably over-the-top acting) has to be the fact that Lori Loughlin of Full House fame plays Daughter Baxter (character is not actually named Daughter Baxter) and Meg Ryan has a small role in this. Other than that fact, the movie is straight-up unintentionally hilarity from beginning to end.

"It puts the lotion in the basket or it watches me do my diner scene from When Harry
Met Sally

I know people like to claim that 3-D movies are “destroying cinema” because—well, fuck I don’t know. Other than making us pay more for seeing a movie in a theater, there’s really not much else they are doing. 3-D hate aside, the cameras used to make a 3-D film (let’s ignore those ones that are made 3-D in post; those ones, above all others, are done for the money and nothing else) are quite advance and are capable of capturing depth, color and action the way other cameras can’t so I think that’s pretty damn cool. However, to all the people who think 3-D is a cheap gimmick, you are damn correct. However, 3-D is not a new gimmick but has existed for a long time and is only now reaching a Golden Age it never saw before. For some reason, though, horror film franchises when they hit the 3rd film (obviously for the use of the “three” in “3-D”) decided to go 3-D; Jason did it, this one did it—hell, even a shark did it. The point I’m making is that, in this case, the 3-D elements only add to the film’s silliness as it was made during a time when the extra dimension wasn’t used to create depth but used to have stupid things pop off the screen at you—often times those stupid things were paddle balls.

"We couldn't afford a paddle ball so enjoy this flashlight."

I guess that looks demon-ey.
Unlike other Amityville movies, Amityville 3-D is an improvement—granted an improvement in the wrong way as the film hits the bull’s eye in becoming one of those great bad movies that fails to create what the director intended but fails in all the right ways to make the movie something fun to watch. In fact, by the time the movie hits its third act and climax of the film and the demon emerges from the gates of hell (I’m not being creative there for the sake of satire—this literally happens) I was laughing so hard and no longer needed to make fun of the action for a laugh—the movie starting doing my job for me. Yes, Amityville 3-D sucks but it sucks in a way where you don’t feel you just wasted an hour an a half not being scared by a scary movie.

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