AMITYVILLE EXORCISM (2017)

Amityville Exorcism.jpg

Studio:       Wild Eye Releasing
Director:    Mark Polonia
Writer:       Billy D’Amato
Producer:  Mark Polonia
Stars:     Marie DeLorenzo, Jeff Kirkendall, James Carolus, Steve Diasparra, Ken Van Sant, Titus Himmelberger, Todd Carpenter, Kathryn Sue Young, Austin Dragovich

Review Score:


Summary:

A priest whose brother died exorcising the Amityville house is called upon to rescue another family from demonic possession.


Synopsis:     

Review:

Figuring out that “Amityville Exorcism” is homemade horror not worth watching takes ten seconds.  So why sit through the remaining 4,610?

For a casual viewer, there isn’t a good answer.  If I weren’t a critic, I certainly wouldn’t have finished the film.  But that begs the follow-up question: why go forward with writing a review for a movie you know isn’t going to be worth the time?

This space was previously occupied by 350 words explaining why I would bother with something of such poor quality.  Suffice it to say, the full response is best reserved for a longform op-ed somewhere else down the line.  For now, we’ll leave it at: someone out there is hopefully going to get good use out of this warning, or maybe take after-the-fact comfort in knowing s/he wasn’t alone in suffering through the miserable miasma that is “Amityville Exorcism.”  For that viewer, it’s worth it.

Dozens of indie horror moviemakers are already hip to the trick that anyone can make an ‘Amityville’ movie, since it is simply the name of a town.  Director Mark Polonia may be the first to double dip in this well, having previously produced “Amityville Death House,” a film I’m now admittedly curious about in light of how shockingly amateur “Amityville Exorcism” is.  At least in the way you still have to smell or taste something spoiled just to confirm what another sense already suspected.

There’s no sense mincing words.  Getting straight to the point, “Amityville Exorcism” is a homebrew point-and-shoot project duct-taped together using available friends, family, and whatever change one can get from turning in a trash bag of aluminum cans.  If it didn’t have the extremely iffy ‘Amityville’ connection, I can’t imagine it ever would have seen the ink of a distribution deal.

The setup is a contractor who worked on the original ‘Amityville Horror’ home repurposed lumber from that renovation for other projects.  The carpenter ended up possessed and murdered his family.  Now it’s up to a priest whose brother died exorcising the infamous Amityville house to save another family whose home reused the cursed wood.

That family consists of Amy and her alcoholic father Jeremy.  Out of courtesy, I won’t openly estimate the age of the actress playing this young girl who collects creepy dolls and lives at home.  Let’s just say that the age of her grey-haired dad couldn’t have been over eight when he supposedly fathered her.

“Amityville Exorcism” doesn’t have scenes so much as a series of montages.  The priest visits his brother’s grave in a belabored sequence of walking past more headstones than a small cemetery should even have room for.  Jeremy is established as a boozer in a series of shots that sees him swigging from a bottle of Fireball, Jack Daniels, Jameson, Jaegermeister, and then back again for another round.

To perfectly summarize how cheap “Amityville Exorcism” is, the four alcohols just mentioned range in color from amber to brown.  Yet everything drunk dad drinks is perfectly clear, because in all likelihood it is tap water.  Microbudget filmmaking pro-tip: if you don’t have access to empty vodka or gin bottles to fill with clear liquid, maybe put your production on hold until you can come up with $2 to pick up some food coloring.

That’s the essential extent of what you need to know about the effort on hand in “Amityville Exorcism.”  The “demon” is a man in a red cloak and one of those cheap Halloween masks with an elastic string and two staples.  Prosthetic makeup effects look like they were made from hardened cake frosting.  I’m not even sure the man playing the father maintains eye contact without looking off camera in any of his scenes.

It was a momentary struggle deciding if “Amityville Exorcism” deserved one star or none.  Funnily enough, it would have been none if not for a movie mistake.

I was sure the film, which is not properly color corrected, was shot on a phone with available light.  But I caught a tripod-mounted camera in a car panel reflection, confirming a modicum of effort was at least made to keep shots properly steadied.  I guess not everything was completely slapdash.  For that reason alone I’ll award participation points.

There are a lot of bad DIY horror movies out there made by amateurs.  For many of them though, I can still picture cast and crew getting some enjoyment out of a viewing by pulling out a few beers and reminiscing about the time spent shooting.  For “Amityville Exorcism,” I can’t even imagine the people who made it wanting to watch it if they weren’t involved.  Then again, there are no crew people in the credits aside from actors, producers, and four thank yous, so the audience for “Amityville Exorcism” is extremely limited no matter what.

Review Score:  10