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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

‘Amityville in Space’ Fails to Live Up to the Fun of Its Own Title [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.”

The law of horror movie franchises is that eventually, without fail, you go to space.

It’s fitting, then, that the final outing for prolific Amityville writer/director Mark Polonia takes the “franchise” into the furthest reaches of space in the year 3015.

It’s been a few entries since Polonia’s last outing. He’s the creative responsible for Amityville Island, Amityville Exorcism, and Amityville Death House. Of these, Island has some amusingly self-aware bits, Death House has a great spider walk finale, and…well, the less said about Exorcism the better.

Where does Amityville in Space fall? Alas, it skews closer to Exorcism than the others. Not helping matters is that this latest film shares a character – Father Benna (Jeff Kirkendall) – albeit one who didn’t make much of an impression the first time around.

Father Benna actually opens the film, entering the famed Amityville home to try, once and for all, to exorcize the evil inside. The brief cold open positions the event as a live news event, but – like too many developments in the film – it hardly matters. Father Benna’s prayers to God to relocate the evil ultimately instigates the extreme time and location jump, and then the film spends most of its remaining runtime playing silly fish out of water story beats.

Father Benna (Jeff Kirkendall) and Dr Nurmi (Cassandra Hayes) stand in front of a white wall with shadows visible

The new location Father Benna finds himself aboard (eventually) is Wyoming 227, a “deep space cruiser” with a small crew that’s tasked with blowing up black holes. The obvious connection to Alien is tangential at best and the visuals, be they Space: 1999 style practical sets or horrendous green screen backgrounds, feel like a parody.

Alas, the whole film is played straight.

It’s a perplexing creative decision because criticisms would be much kinder if the film were humorous or campy. Unfortunately Amityville in Space never embraces its terribleness; instead the film dedicates its ~75 minute runtime to shallow and forgettable characters confronting A Nightmare on Elm Street-style nightmares and disbelieving Benna before a hastily executed explosive climax.

Following the opening sequence, the film introduces flirty Captain Halstead (Titus Himmelberger), who is ordered by his shady corporate boss Madam Tyse (Natalie Himmelberger) to investigate two mysterious appearances. One is the Amityville house where they discover Father Benna; the other is a GIANT fiery pentagram floating in space next to a black hole.

Father Benna is brought on board for medical treatment by Dr. Nurmi (Cassandra Hayes), but he’s treated with suspicion by pilot Maitland (Tim Hatch) and weapons expert Jacowitz (Ryan Dalton). Meanwhile android Vox (Michael Korotitsch) is sent to the house where it is destroyed by the manifestation of evil, Legion (an undisclosed actor in robes and a really cheap demon mask).

From then on, the rest of the film follows Legion infecting crew members and/or faking them out with nightmares, while the others try to understand the 2021 concept of a “domicile” and whether to blow it up.

Madam Tyse (Natalie Himmelberger) speaks on a video com link

Aside from that, Amityville in Space is inert. The paper-thin characters aren’t memorable, the uninspired plot is predictable (and therefore quite tedious), and, most disappointingly, there’s nothing to latch onto visually due to the extremely low budget FX.

To be clear, expectations were always low because Polonia’s entries have always been modest affairs, but this entry feels particularly phoned-in and uninspired. This is a huge problem considering that the space element is the film’s first (and only) hook.

Sadly the look of the film is either ugly, distracting, or both. Its aesthetic is reminiscent of a Windows 98 screen saver, but not in a “so good it’s bad” playful, nostalgia way.

Like the overall film, it’s simply bad.

1 skull out of 5

‘Amityville in Space’ Trailer Brings the Infamous Evil House Into Outer Space [Exclusive]

The Amityville IP Awards go to…

  • Parody Gone Wrong: Attentive readers will note that in the last entry on Amityville Scarecrow 2, we were going to discuss Amityville Gas Chamber (2022) in this editorial. However, after skimming the YouTube video, it is clear that it’s less of a film, and more of its own desperate cash grab. A 80 minute single take of a farting protagonist (ha ha?) and “pop up” facts about the other films doesn’t merit discussion.
  • Hand Homage: In the opening scene Father Benna loses his hand to the evil in what appears to be a homage to Evil Dead 2, but it looks (and plays) more like Thing from The Addams Family.
  • Tin-Earned Dialogue: At one point Captain Halstead tells Jocwitsz: “I need you here in case we need to launch a retaliatory strike against the pentagram” The fact that this line isn’t dripping in sarcasm or camp is frankly unforgivable.
  • Tin-Earned Dialogue 2: “Thanks for lending me a hand” Halstead jokes after they shoot Father Benna’s malevolent hand. This is *clearly* a joke, and yet it only plays within the world of the film (characters laugh, but the delivery isn’t actually funny). It’s all so perplexing.
  • Silver Lining – Visual Edition: The only remotely interesting visual component is a random stop-motion monster that attacks crew members in the house. It has a textured, hand-drawn element to it, which is intriguing, but this demon is visually out of synch with the rest of the film and makes very little logical narrative sense.
  • Confusing Visuals: Q: What’s more confronting: the cheapness of the “transporter” chamber (a direct rip-off on Star Trek) or the super soaker look of the “laser pistols” that crew members use? A: Both.
  • Silver Lining – Director’s Edition: While Polonia isn’t going out on a high with this title, his contributions to the “franchise” have thankfully come to an end, so there won’t be any more ragging on him in the future.

Next Time: the high concept entries continue as 2021’s Amityville Hex explores the well-trodden ground of The Ring’s viral death curse. It’s also the first of three (!) titles from writer/director Shawn C. Phillips.

Amityville in Space

The post ‘Amityville in Space’ Fails to Live Up to the Fun of Its Own Title [The Amityville IP] appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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