JANUARY 2, 2009
I got a bit suspicious when I saw that Amityville 3-D was rated PG, instead of R like all of the previous (and future) installments. After the trashy sleaze of the 2nd film, how would a PG entry fare? Granted, it’s not impossible to make a good PG haunted house movie (Poltergeist, which this movie occasionally directly emulates, is a pretty good example I would say), but still, I feared the worst. And I was mostly right.
It’s well acted, and the production value is nice, but goddamn is it slow and lazy. Most surprising is how so few scenes/shots seem to be 3D ready”. You know in like Friday 3 when you watch it in 2D, you have to endure a whole bunch of shots that have no reason to exist without some headache-inducing glasses? There are only a half dozen in this movie, split evenly between scares (a 3D fly!) and pointless (a 3D Frisbee!). But it seems like the 3D is more like Monster House, where it’s more about separating things in virtual movie space than having things fly out of the screen. But since you’re watching it in 2D, this means that a lot of the movie looks pretty goddamn blurry, which is pretty distracting.
But more troublesome is the movie’s stern refusal to goddamn DO anything. A fat guy gets flied to death in the first ten minutes, but then nothing much happens until the 3rd act. At one point they even have four teens (including a cute, and already interesting, Meg Ryan, and a cute, but still bland Lori Laughlin) go into the house for séance, which I thought would lead to some good kills or at least scares, but no. A glass flies across the room (and not even at the camera – a perfect opportunity for a good 3D shot, wasted) and that’s about it. With like 10 minutes left of the movie, Robert Joy says he wants to investigate the house, which results in a nice setpiece of furniture being flung around (best death in the series so far – a door flies into a guy, which sends him out a window) and a nonsensical plot point concerning a basement puddle, but it’s too little too late.
Hilariously, even then the movie refuses to kill anyone off. It seems like the whole investigative team is wiped out, but then as our hero does his whole “standing back up after the explosion and dusting himself off” thing, some vague people are seen running out of the house. You don’t see their faces, but unless the place was doubling as a glory hole, you can assume that they all got away (except for Joy, who has a confusing death in which a monster comes from the puddle, grabs his head, and then pulls him in, then they cut and he is in the puddle feet first).
Yet, they DO kill two of the most presumably safe characters in the movie! Our hero’s charming partner, and his teenage daughter bite it (the former’s death is awesome, the latter is so vague I wasn’t even sure she was dead until someone mentioned a funeral a few scenes later). So for those keeping score: random investigators – safe. 15 year old future Uncle Joey squeeze – dead.
The DVD has no extras beyond the trailer. I find it kind of funny that they retain the “3-D” title when the 3D version is not present, especially when A. it would probably be the only thing that makes this one worth a look and B. it has an alternate subtitle (The Demon) that they could have used. Nothing like needlessly calling attention to a missing selling point.
What say you?