Amityville 3-D (1983)

This is the third of what are apparently now 20+ Amityville movies. Who the hell keeps watching these?

I watched the first Amityville Horror in the series some years ago and just was not impressed. But since it is an established franchise in horror, even if not one of the most popular, I figured I would return to the Amityvilles at some point and find out if I like any of the later entries more than the first one. The answer for Amityville 3-D?


What can I say? Not much happens, it’s mainly dull save for a couple moments of greatness, and the movie tried to rely on a 3D effect that has only gotten worse with age. Tony Roberts plays a reporter for a supermarket checkout aisle rag that investigates and busts open paranormal phenomena. He cracks wide open a fake seance scene in the old Amityville house but then decides he likes the place. Since he’s an aging dad in the midst of a midlife crisis and getting a divorce, he figures it’s a great idea to buy it and move in. And…nothing much happens.

Most of this movie consists of people telling Roberts they don’t want to go in his house, and Roberts being like, “Come on, what? I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.” Then his daughter dies, his ex-wife moves in because she is crazy and thinks the daughter is in his house, and Roberts gets a bunch of paranormal investigators to hang out. That’s when the demon shows up (and I don’t mean the ex-wife)! Now if only he had more than 10 seconds of screen time. There are a couple of freaky moments, such as Roberts’ photographer partner bursting into flames in her car for no reason, but they are few and far between, and the exposition in the meantime is bland and mostly consists of the same conversation. But even then we get bombarded with cheesy moments for 3D effects and a badly drawn fly that I guess was supposed to be spooky.

This is not a bad film, per se. It’s competently acted, and the plot is consistent even if the most interesting aspect doesn’t get emphasized until the end (you had a demon in the basement and you used it once? COME ON). But the 3D is gimmicky and obvious, and the movie is about as bloodless as a desanguinated fish. It all just feels tired. Even Meg Ryan’s enthusiasm doesn’t bring this flop to life, and she is by far the most enthusiastic thing in this picture.

You want a good haunted house movie? Watch The Changeling with George C. Scott! But avoid The Amityville Horror and avoid Amityville 3-D.

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