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Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 9.52%
Average: 9.52%
Pretty Bad: 33.33%
Total Crap47.62%

1 review, 15 user ratings

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Amityville 3-D
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by Jack Sommersby

"Elicits More Yawns Than Goosebumps"
1 stars

Well, the legendary producer Dino De Laurentiis, who financed this mess, made far better decisions on second sequels with "Halloween 3: Season of the Witch" and "Army of Darkness."

Boring, incompetent and just plain idiotic, Amityville 3-D offers up not so much as an iota of either scares or suspense, just a barrage of mind-boggling inanities that make this pathetic excuse for a horror movie about as frightening as a fly on your drinking glass. Vastly inferior to Damiano Damiani's surprisingly effective Amityville II: The Possession and even worse than Stuart Rosenberg's abysmal The Amityville Horror, it tries to squeeze every last drop out of the already-depleted story idea of a Long Island haunted house wreaking havoc upon its unsuspecting occupants, and all to no avail -- there isn't so much as a single solitary effective moment anywhere to be found. This time around we have Tony Roberts, in his first starring role in a major motion picture, playing John Baxter, an investigative reporter for a second-rate news magazine who opens the proceedings by exposing a couple of small-time con artists operating out of the Amityville house -- under the guise of being able to connect bereaved people with the spirits of their dead loved ones, they put on quite the manipulative show, only for their tricks of the trade to be found out (and we're left to wonder why the evil force that's still in the house hasn't done them in by now). With the realtor willing to unload the house for a bargain price in light of its still-sinister reputation around the community, John, separated from his wife and weary of big-city living, decides to buy it. But before John's even moved in the realtor meets an untimely demise thanks to a swarm of nasty-tempered flies suffocating him in the attic; not a believer in the supernatural, John is willing to chalk the death up as a coincidence. Soon his high-school daughter has picked out her room -- in the attic, of course; and, of course, she starts hearing strange noises. The lights throughout the house keep flickering and going out, with the fuse box in the basement, where, as the previous entries in this series made clear, the source of the evil resides. With the stolid John doing his best to remain level-headed amid the curious goings-on, the screenplay serves up two bland and abrasive female-worrywart characters, ex-wife Nancy (Tess Harper) and co-worker Melanie (Candy Clark), who spend their time trying to convince John he'd be better off someplace safer -- like, say, a demilitarized zone in a third-world country. And, yes, the movie ultimately culminates in a grand finale with lots of phantasmagorical elements but not a one any more menacing than your neighborhood Casper the Friendly Ghost.

The veteran director Richard Fleischer (Fantastic Voyage, Soylent Green) has absolutely no cinematic feel for the macabre, failing time and time again at conjuring up the kind of functional atmosphere and tension that even a less-experienced hack director could've achieved just by sticking to genre fundamentals that Fleischer seems to think he's above. He treats it strictly as a for-hire job, which would be somewhat of a handicap if the writing were substantial but is positively detrimental here in light of the sub-mental mishmash the debuting screenwriter William Wales has dished out -- the egregious execution winds up accentuating the numerous inadequacies so they're made even more noticeable. In a truly lame attempt at "variety" with a dire absence of inner logic, Wales has the evil force venture far outside its parameters in gaining control of John's workplace elevator and Melanie's automobile -- each time one of the huge inimical flies from the attic appears before trouble sets in, which must be some kind of world record flown by any movie insect, not to mention a welcome excuse to look back at those silly locusts in Exorcist 2: The Heretic with newfound respect. (Then again, this is the kind of movie where someone enters the house saying, "I'm just dying to check this place out." Har, har.) Amityville 3-D is an embarrassing botch, with unflattering brown-tinged cinematography (it looks like the celluloid had been dipped in turpentine), cheesy special effects that even a low-budget Roger Corman production would've been too proud to pollute onto the silver screen (the main monster that pops out of a hole in the basement reminds of the hokey title creatures in C.H.U.D.), and anemic acting (Roberts just doesn't have the charisma and presence to command audience interest from start to finish, though, in a brief role, Meg Ryan manages some liveliness). Even fans of 3-D will be disappointed, for as many of these effects that are employed, only those involving a Frisbee and a drinking straw are well-done. Mind you, one doesn't ask that every haunted-house tale be a masterpiece, for there have been perfectly respectable ones by the likes of Dan Curtis's Burnt Offerings and Gus Trikonis's The Evil that were flawed but at least had a genuine look and feel about them, along with a proper view of the material, whereas everything in Amityville 3-D has all the finesse of an industrial-training video. Add to this a fruity music score more appropriate to a Blake Edwards comedy and stilted dialogue more tin than gold to the ear, and you have one of those disreputable sequels that makes a moviegoer tempted to take up needlepoint as an alternative form of entertainment.

Lest anyone think of me as a prude, I actually gave "Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes" a semi-positive review!

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originally posted: 08/11/12 07:00:52
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User Comments

2/21/17 morris campbell better than the first 2 3 stars
8/27/12 David Pollastrini Absolutely awful. 2 stars
6/07/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess Somehow manages to be worst then the first 2 stars
3/20/07 Vip Ebriega A good idea, wasted. 2 stars
12/03/06 Jeff Anderson Although well made & the 3-D's actually good, film's dull & it's great potential is wasted! 1 stars
5/03/06 Josh Standlee At least it's better than a hip-hop movie. 2 stars
12/12/05 Agent Sands Why make this? No plot, NOTHING new. Why make it? Meg Ryan's cameo is almost mediocre. 1 stars
12/10/05 cody a cheesie sequel with 3d gimmick, good acting, ok story, weak effects 2 stars
4/26/05 E-FUNK Nothing happens. It's like waiting in a dentist's office for a week, without being scared. 1 stars
4/05/05 gray could have avoided sucking 2 stars
4/07/04 re a good film 4 stars
3/23/04 Trannon Goble Eh? 3 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum Laugh out loud awful movie, Meg Ryan sucks even in her first role 1 stars
8/16/02 Shaun took me 3 days to sit through 2 stars
10/16/01 Andrew Carden Pretty Cool Movie, The Ending Is Remarkable. Meg's First Film. 4 stars
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  18-Nov-1983 (PG)
  DVD: 05-Apr-2005

  N/A (15)

  N/A (M)

Directed by
  Richard Fleischer

Written by
  David Ambrose
  William Wales

  Tony Roberts
  Tess Harper
  Candy Clark
  Robert Joy
  Meg Ryan

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