Tuesday, August 15, 2023

‘Amityville: Mt. Misery Road’ Is a Short Film Barely Stretched to Feature Length [The Amityville IP]

Twice a month Joe Lipsett will dissect a new Amityville Horror film to explore how the “franchise” has evolved in increasingly ludicrous directions. This is “The Amityville IP.”

There have been some bad Amityville films since we ventured off the path into open IP territory. A lot of filmmakers have used the name recognition of the “franchise” to make a quick buck, albeit to varying degrees of creative success.

While some of the twenty-two films have been…let’s say challenging; at least the vast majority of them have a story to tell. And then there’s Amityville: Mt. Misery Road, which takes a bare bone narrative conceit and stretches it out to 70 minutes.

Yes, folks, welcome to the case of the short that billed itself as a feature.

There’s a kernel of a good idea in the film. Mt. Misery Road hails from multi-hyphenate husband and wife pair Karolina and Chuck Morrongiello, who literally do everything on the film (writing, direction, music, editing, producing, and acting).

The film follows Florida couple Charlie (Chuck Morrongiello) and Buzi, pronounced “bougey” (Karolina Morrongiello), as they prepare for a spooky weekend getaway to the titular location. We’re told not one but two asylums burned to the ground there, resulting in one of the most haunted places in America.

So far, so good right? Well, not exactly.

It’s never clear why Buzi and Charlie are going to Mt. Misery Road. At some points, it’s referred to as a vacation, while the film’s logline describes the pair as “avid ghost hunters.” And yet the day before they embark on the trip, they’re still searching out introductory websites about the area and meeting with people to learn the history. The timeline is very confused.

When they arrive in NY, there’s a discussion of filming their experience (the film is shot conventionally until they leave on the trip, at which point it mostly switches to found footage). All of this begs the question: is the filming just for fun or are they shooting a low budget video to make money?

We never see a YouTube channel and there’s no other indication that’s their job. The word “avid” seems generous considering how little the pair seem to know about not just the area, but about researching online in general. And while it hardly matters to the “plot,” the lack of clarity speaks to the film’s inability to provide its characters even a basic motivation.

Despite repeated warnings from Curt (Curtis Wyka), a Hungtington native, as well as historian Mike Gallagher (Lloyd Goldstein), the Floridians are determined to first drive and then hike to the site. This takes 40 minutes of screentime.

The pair promptly become lost in the woods, where they are attacked and killed by Mothman or a Lady in White (it’s not entirely clear).

Amityville Mt. Misery road

While the film has a similar bare bones narrative approach to The Blair Witch Project, the Morrongiellos have no sense of how much story a 70-minute feature requires or how to edit the footage to make it compelling. This results in long, agonizing scenes of the couple’s most perfunctory activities.

For example: the film opens with three minutes of credits, followed by 90 seconds of Charlie driving home on the highway. Buzi’s web search of haunted attractions near Mt. Misery Road takes an additional 2.5 minutes and shortly thereafter there’s a two minute sequence of Buzi dancing in a bar for Charlie’s amusement.

These time stamps may not seem that significant but watching them play out in real time feels interminable. The extended length of these (often immaterial) sequences makes up nearly the entire runtime; there is no film, there’s just a loose collection of poorly edited scenes.

This means we spend a considerable amount of time watching Charlie and Buzi look at pictures of orbs in the woods. We watch them board the plane, then drink on the plane, then sleep on the plane.

Later, there’s a long sequence without actors as a cottage is filmed in great detail while Charlie provides a voice-over about stories of missing children. Could this contribute to a spooky atmosphere as the couple embark on their journey through the woods? Possibly, but it is too drawn-out, and the children never figure into the plot. All of these scenes wind up feeling like padding to inch the film past the seventy minute mark.

The poor editing is exacerbated by the painful dialogue, much of which appears to be improvised (or perhaps the Morrongiellos aren’t acting and this is who they really are?) Whole chunks of dialogue outlines how cold it is, or how much money they spent on the trip so they can’t cancel (this occurs several times). At one point Charlie even (re)tells Buzi the history of Mt. Misery Road, repeating verbatim the details that Curt told them BOTH in the bar earlier.

And then there are the “babes.” If audiences found the term of endearment cute before hitting play, rest assured that it will drive you mad by film’s end. Admittedly there’s a fleeting moment of humor when the two Floridians encounter cold for the first time (“Hey babe!” “Hey babe!” “It’s cold!” “I know!”), but by the time Buzi is screaming “Babe? Babe! Babe? Babe!” on an endless loop in the dark for fifteen minutes, it’s enough to make you go running for the woods.

Babe…this one’s no good.

Amityville Mt. Misery movie

The Amityville IP Awards go to…

  • Best Dialogue: Charlie (after learning about the Woman in White who burned the asylum): “That crazy bitch”
  • Best Scare: It’s a stretch to call anything in the film scary, but Buzi’s nightmare where she discovers Mothman and his red eyes in the dark bathroom is decent.
  • Most viral moment: So much of the film is a slog, but the song that plays over the plane footage about Buzi’s Butt (called, you guessed it, “Buzi’s Butt”) is very catchy.
  • Technical Complaint: From what I can recall, there isn’t a single montage in the film. It’s as though the Morrongiellos are unaware of the filmmaking technique. It’s frustrating because so much of Amityville: Mt. Misery Road could have been strengthened simply by shortening sequences and tightening the editing. But then it wouldn’t be a feature film…

Next Time: We’re back into remake territory (sort of) as The Amityville Murders (2018) recreates the original DeFeo murders.

The post ‘Amityville: Mt. Misery Road’ Is a Short Film Barely Stretched to Feature Length [The Amityville IP] appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Got any friends who might like this scary horror stuff? GO AHEAD AND SHARE, SHARE!


Some of Scary Horror Stuff's Freakiest Short Horror Film Features!

The latest on the horror genre, everything you need to know, from Freddy Krueger to Edgar Allan Poe.

How Plausible Is It to Have the "Hocus Pocus" Kids Back for Some More Halloween Hijinks?

Potentially very good. See below. It turns out that the announcement is official according to the Carrie Bradshaw of the Sanderson bunch (Sarah Jessica Parker): there will be a "Hocus Pocus" sequel, premiering on Disney+.