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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

‘Amityville Cult’ Delivers a Familiar, Drawn Out Story [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.”

Amityville Cult begins with a solid hook: a young man is stabbed to death on a beach by a robed figure.

Following a time/location jump, writer/director Trey Murphy introduces the film’s protagonist Stanley DeFeo (Chance Gibbs). The name DeFeo is obviously a strong connection to the overall mythology of the original Amityville films, though aside from the name drop and the home that Stan inherits from his deceased grandmother in Amityville (not Long Island), Cult doesn’t have a ton in common to the other films in the “franchise.”

That’s not the film’s biggest issue, though. Like The Amityville Exorcism or Amityville: Mt. Misery Road, there simply isn’t enough plot here to justify a feature length runtime.

It would help if Amityville Cult wasn’t repurposing such familiar story beats. Stan never knew his grandmother Marie Cameron (Micha Marie Stevens), but when lawyer Thomas Davenport (Patrick McAlister) calls to give Stan her house, it hardly raises a red flag. Stan leaves girlfriend Crystal (Lara Williams) behind to check it out, then finds himself in a nearly deserted small town where he’s treated with both suspicion from locals and warned to leave by the local hermit, Jeremy (Tom Young).

Marie (Micha Marie Stevens - L) holding a baby behind her husband's back

Flashbacks eventually reveal that Jeremy was Marie’s husband when they moved to Amityville, but she quickly grew to resent his long work hours and their new baby. Eventually she began an affair with legal “consultant” Asmodeus (Eric Oberto) and left everything behind to take up demonic worship and bear his child (hence why Stan never knew her).

While the flashbacks fill in some of Stan’s family backstory, they’re fairly obvious. That narrative trend continues as the film progresses, with very few surprises in the fact that a) Marie is still alive, b) Stan is being groomed to bring forth a demon (similar to Amityville Witches) or c) that folks like Crystal and Thomas are in on the cult’s scheme.

Throw in some extreme overacting by Oberto, and the recycling of nearly seven (!) minutes of footage around the hour mark, and it’s clear that Amityville Cult is just a straightforward, overly familiar cult film. Murphy’s script is obviously hampered by how many actors he has access to (Amityville is more deserted than a Children of the Corn film), but there’s so little happening before the demon-infused climax that the 85 minute runtime plays like a walk in molasses.

This one is slow, monotonous, and more than a little tedious.

1.5 out of 5 skulls

A grinning man (Eric Oberto) stands behind a wall

The Amityville IP Awards go to…

  • Go Big or Go Home: Eric Oberto is doing the absolute MOST in this film. From his wild eyes to his maniacal smile, the actor is in a whole other (very broad) movie. The problem is that Asmodeus is meant to woo Marie with his charm, but he comes off as scary and unhinged in every scene. It’s not believable that she would fall for him.
  • Local Lore: Right before the film goes into a tailspin of recycled footage, Jeremy details how Amityville became a town of cultists. Tall, dark, handsome and silver-tongued Asmodeus convinced his worshippers to burn down a church filled with Protestant believers who opposed him and now their spirits (heard frequently on the soundtrack) haunt the town to warn of cult behaviour. It’s an intriguing idea; in fact, one could argue that it’s more intriguing than the film we’re watching.
  • Stan, The Man:  Considering he’s onscreen for ~75% of the film, Gibbs does an admirable job anchoring the film. Stan isn’t the most complicated protagonist (he’s very slow to realize he’s being targeted by the cult), but Gibbs does what he can with an underwritten role.
  • Demon Aesthetic: Amityville Cult doesn’t have a lot of action or special effects, but the film wisely saves its fireworks for the end. Not only is there a fun (simple) visual wherein the person possessed by the demon has bright yellow eyes, but Asmodeus also returns in black and white demonic make-up, complete with curved horns and blood red lighting. It’s all low-fi, but this sequence stands out visually compared to the film’s otherwise muted tan, blue, and grey colour scheme.

Next Time: We’re talking about the final Amityville film of 2021, which debuted exactly ONE WEEK after this one: Amityville Vampire (2021).

The post ‘Amityville Cult’ Delivers a Familiar, Drawn Out Story [The Amityville IP] appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/editorials/3791060/amityville-cult-delivers-a-familiar-drawn-out-story-the-amityville-ip/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=amityville-cult-delivers-a-familiar-drawn-out-story-the-amityville-ip

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