Movie Review: THE AMITYVILLE MURDERS

THE AMITYVILLE MURDERS is based on the terrifying true event. The movie was written and directed by Daniel Farrands and stars John Robinson, Chelsea Ricketts, Diane Franklin, Paul Ben-Victor, Noa Brenner, Zane Austin and Kue Lawrence with Lainie Kazan and Burt Young.

Based on a true events, the film relays the nightmarish story that preceded the one detailed in the original 1979 classic film.  On the night of November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. took a high-powered rifle and murdered his entire family as they slept. At his trial, DeFeo claimed that “voices” in the house commanded him to kill. This is their story.

The Amityville Murders follows the DeFeo family and centers around Ronald “Butch” DeFeo Jr. (John Robinson) and his sister Dawn (Chelsea Ricketts). Butch isn’t really a go-getter and doesn’t have much ambition in life so he spends a lot of his time getting high downstairs but there’s much more to this addiction than just being a junky because his father Ronnie (Paul Ben-Victor) is very abusive and his victimized mother Louise (Diane Franklin) is left helpless so this serves as sort of an outlet and escape from reality.

Some strange things begin to happen to Butch because he starts to see and hear things around the house that nobody else can. These are some extremely unsettling things and for some reason whatever is behind this has tagged Butch as its target. His parents simply dismisses this as Butch being high all the time but Dawn ends up witnessing something she can’t explain so she sympathizes with her brother. After a dangerous altercation, even their mobster father sees that something isn’t right with his son but they just don’t know what to do about it.

What happens is, Butch continues to experience these visions and sounds that slowly turn him into a compltely different person. Butch descends into darkness and is never able to return from it because something supernatural is now calling the shots. Dawn leaves the house for a while ona dark and stormy night and this is when this supernatural force uses Butch as its pawn and when Dawn gets an uneasy feeling she quickly races back home where she not only makes a shocking discovery but unfortunately she becomes a part of it with Butch left all alone as the soul survivor of the DeFeo family.

There have been nearly two dozen movies based on this mysterious event but The Amityville Murders is one of the better ones to come along and there are some strong reasons why. Through research, I’ve learned that Daniel Farrands was close to the Lutz family and I’m sure he learned a lot about what went down with them as well as the DeFeo family and their tragic story.

It was easy for me to tell that The Amityville Murders was a passion project for Farrands because there’s so much attention to detail with the vintage look of the movie as well as this troubled family and the supernatural element that’s introduced inside the creepy old house. Oh yes, you can’t have an Amityville movie without the house and its scary windows that look two like evil eyes. Even the infamous red room is back as well as several nods to the first two movies and an ending that makes the entire slow burn with the watch. I won’t spoil it for you but the ending was absolutely fantastic and die hard Amityville fanatics will hopefully dig it as much as I did.

Ferrands even included some pictures and video from the tragic event and trial which might not set well with some viewers. Still, I thought the director did a good job telling the story and the cast did a great job with their characters. The two leads were played by John Robinson and Chelsea Ricketts and both of them delivered some intense performances. This is a dark character study that inserts a supernatural element as it plays out and I liked the way it slowly transitioned from a disturbing family drama into something eerie and unsettling. The only flaw really were some of the visual effects because they looked kind of cheap but besides that this is a well executed slow burn chiller and the best Amityville movie to come along in years. The Amityville Murders will release in theaters, VOD and Digital HD on February 8th.

Distributor: Skyline Entertainment

Run Time: 98 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

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