‘Amityville: the Awakening’ is a Capable Thriller but Could Have Been So Much More

VANAPHASE™ the Vanadium powerhouse!

Amityville: The Awakening cover imageThe original Amityville Horror movie effectively terrified audiences forty years ago. The story of poltergeist activity terrorizing a family in an idyllic lakeside neighborhood has since spawned sequels, a remake, and now, four decades later, something is once again stirring at 112 Ocean ave.

The original 1979 movie, as well as the controversial 1977 book by Jay Anson on which it was based, both terrified me as a child so I was curious about this new one. Neither a remake, a reboot, nor a true sequel, Amityville: The Awakening is something else entirely. It is not the continuing story of the Lutz family, the focus of the original film and the 2005 remake, but instead treats the house, and its infamous red room, as a character all its own.

The Walker family moves into a new home in Amityville, Long Island to be closer to neurologist Dr. Milton who is treating the brain-dead James after he’s had an accident. His twin-sister Belle, her mother Joan, and little sister Juliet hope to start a new life while James hopefully recovers. Strange things begin happening, and after talking with some rather excited school friends Belle realizes she now lives in the infamous house where the DeFeo murders occurred, which spawned a horror franchise, as well as rumored demonic activity that very quickly overturns her life and threatens to tear her family apart.

This movie takes place in the “real world” in a self-aware fashion in the vein of Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, which is an interesting spin on the franchise that isn’t much more than a wasted gimmick, unfortunately. Instead of using this angle as meta-commentary on the controversies surrounding the book, its film “adaptation” and its many spin-offs, and the actual horrific events that took place at 112 Ocean Avenue, it is merely used as a plot device. This isn’t to say this is a bad thing, per se, just a disappointing waste of potential for a movie that could have been so much more than a simple scare-fest.

However, it does have its fair share of frights, most of which happen in the form of jump-scares instead of, in my opinion, the much more effective sense of foreboding or existential dread that the film under-utilizes. Another way in which Amityville: The Awakening could have been so much more had the filmmakers put in a little extra effort. It is a highly capable horror film none-the-less, and much better than I expected.

The cast is fantastic, especially Bella Thorne and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Thorne is an actress I have to admit I was not familiar with before this performance, but I will be keeping my eye out for her from now on. Her down-to-Earth Belle is a delight to watch, holding her own opposite the Academy Award nominee playing her mom. Leigh’s turn as the bereft, mood-swing taken mother is at times truly disturbing. She seems to revel in the role, as an actress who has lately been enjoying a renaissance of sorts. Cameron Monaghan is wonderfully madcap as James, especially once the red room takes ahold of him. Over-the-top yet never giving way to camp, he is a formidable foil for Thorne, at times terrifying and terrified, but always demanding sympathy for his un-forsaken plight.

Director Franck Khalfoun and Director of Photography Steven Poster give Amityville: The Awakening a moody, schizophrenic style befitting the story’s nature. The film has an almost claustrophobic atmosphere at times, giving the viewer a true sense of the mental isolation these characters feel due to their circumstances and surroundings.

While there were a few missed opportunities Amityville: The Awakening is an effective chiller, and an interesting new chapter in the story of one of the most infamous houses in film history.

Amityville: The Awakening is out today on Blu-Ray, DVD, and Digital HD, and On Demand.

YogaOutlet.com

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
The Tingler
Scream for Joy and Scream for Your Life! ‘The Tingler’ is on Blu-ray!

If there’s one oft-repeated phrase about movies I just can’t stand,...

The Ranger
‘The Ranger’ Delivers on its Promise of a Punk Rock Slasher Flick

Chelsea (Chloe Levine) is a punk. Clad in leather and with...

It’s the Thanksgiving From Hell in the Teaser for Ike Barinholtz’s Contentious Comedy ‘The Oath’

We’ve all been there. Thanksgiving surrounded by immediate family and then...

Event News Event Reviews
Transformers: The Movie Theatrical Debut
32 Years Ago Today, Was The Transformers: The Movie Theatrical Debut

On this day, 32 years ago, the world was graced with The...

Blizzard SDCC 2018
Blizzard SDCC 2018 – Blizzard Entertainment Brings Massive Lineup to SDCC

Blizzard in SDCC 2018 – Blizzard Entertainment brings Overwatch, StarCraft, and...

Nuclear Blast SDCC 2018
Nuclear Blast SDCC 2018 – Nuclear Blast Teams Up with JSR and Stern Pinball

Nuclear Blast SDCC 2018 – Nuclear Blast Teams Up with JSR...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Exclusive Track Premiere from Madden NFL 19!

(July 26, 2018 – Los Angeles, CA) – Lakeshore Records today...

Star Ocean Anamnesis
8.0/10
The Most Intuitively Fun Gameplay of Any Mobile RPG – Star Ocean Anamnesis Review

Star Ocean Anamnesis is hands down the most fun and intuitive gameplay...

Ghostbusters World
Strap On Your Jumpsuits and Proton Packs – Ghostbusters World First Look

Ghostbusters World First Look at SDCC2018 – When someone asks you if...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Five Questions for Gary Morgenstein About ‘A Mound Over Hell’

Gary Morgenstein is a journalist, public relations expert and author with...

Ralph Breaks the Internet Graphic Novel
Dark Horse Disney Ralph Breaks the Internet Graphic Novel Revealed

Dark Horse reveals new original Disney Ralph Breaks the Internet Graphic...

black torch
Black Torch – New Supernatural, Action Manga from Viz Media

VIZ Media releases a new, supernatural story with the release of...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Chuck Billy of Testament Talks About His Signature Vaporizer

Chuck Billy of Testament talks about, “The Chief” his signature vaporizer,...

anime pls
Anime Pls by Bioworld – Exclusive Interview

Bioworld Merchandising is a pop culture product expert. The company is considered...

heaven's feel
Fate/stay night [Heaven’s Feel] THE MOVIE I. presage flower Blu-ray Release

TLDR Aniplex of America announced that box office hit, Fate/stay night ...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
WOW Announces New TV Taping Schedule

Women of Wrestling (WOW) will be hosting two nights of TV...

Catching up with Collegiate Take Down King Joe Gonzales at OCG

What can be said about Joe Gonzales? Well, everything really. Gonzales...

NJPW G1 Special from San Francisco Results

New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) the King of Sports returns to...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics #3

The defense against the dark arts temps start rolling in...

Fantoy Comics by Michael Colbert

Another slice of daily Hogwarts life as told with Funko Pops...

Fantoy Comics by Michael Colbert

A new comic strip focusing on the regular old days at...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming. Related

Gaming Uncensored Roundtable: December 2016

December’s roundtable discusses story in games with Chad, Josh, and Spencer....

Gaming Uncensored: Podcast #349

Jamie reflects on some of his time with the HTC Vive....

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Crisis on Earth-X Soundtrack
Blake Neely Behind-the-Scenes Recording of Crisis on Earth-X Soundtrack

Check out this exclusive Behind-The-Scenes video with Blake Neely as he...

Rising Country Music Artist Kaylin Roberson Talks About her work with St. Jude

Kaylin Roberson is a singer, songwriter and pianist from Raleigh, North...

MTV Unveils Performers for ‘TRL Live’ on October 3rd at 3 p.m. E.T.

NEW YORK, NY (September 26, 2017) – MTV today announced that...

%d bloggers like this: