Movie Review: The Amityville Murders (2018)

February 4, 2019

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Man, Ronnie Jr. “Butch” DeFeo (John Robinson) has got it tough. His abusive ape of a father (Paul Ben-Victor) treats him like a punching bag (due in no small part to his draft dodging, pot smoking ways)…when he isn’t up to Mob biz that is, his dabbling into the supernatural has left him susceptible to arcane evil from the depths of hell, his girlfriend is on his ass every second (she kinda has a point as Butch chucks her ass out of a car into a huge mud puddle after a mid-blowie, hallucinogenic incest based freak-out…you know, a Tuesday for you boils n’ ghouls no doubt), oh…and there’s a rock solid chance this cat is a full-on lunatic. Before long the paranormal and psychosis begin to take their toll and Butch will be pushed beyond his limits!

There’s a lot to dig about The Amityville Murders in my not so humble opinion. For starters, Robinson and Ben-Victor absolutely nail their respective roles as the son and father duo, with the former going from sympathetic to psycho with complete believability, and the latter creating a palpable sense of tension and unease whenever he is on screen. The supporting cast do a fantastic job as well with Chelsea Ricketts playing the occult obsessed Dawn DeFeo and Diane Franklin as the matriarch of the family. Speaking of Franklin, she also appeared in the 1982 cinematic version of the true-life events depicted here; Amityville II: The Possession…and she is not the only alum from that picture to make an appearance as Burt Young (who played the patriarch of the fictitious family based on the DeFeo clan in the aforementioned film, as well as Paulie in the Rocky films) makes the scene as well. Surprisingly Paulie’s robot was one of the few things not blamed for DeFeo’s murderous ways…

Credit must also be given to Writer/Director Daniel Farrands as he keeps the momentum going (albeit at a deliberate, slow-burn pace) as the suspense ramps ever upward before things get as grizzly as we know they will. Also choice were the inclusion of faux home movie footage to establish the DeFeos as well as real news footage of the murders, which helps immerse the audience in the events at hand.

On the downside, we have seen this material on the silver screen before, as mentioned above…but this outing comes off as closer to the actual events and therefore more believable (supernatural angle notwithstanding)…and the names are left intact this go around.

If you are a fan of The Amityville Horror (or true crime pics with a dash of the otherworldly) then The Amityville Murders will be right up your arcane alley; it’s an intense look at a truly fucked up family, and a cool return to one of horror’s best-known locations!




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