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Amityville 3-D (1983)

(aka: Amityville III: The Demon)



Reviews and Comments

There are two superficial and inadequate pleasures that Amityville 3-D has to offer. One is an early costarring appearance by a young Meg Ryan. The other is the parade of gimmicks used to play with the 3D format: people spit at the camera, shine flashlights at the camera, throw frisbees at the camera, and the prop guys have a ball dangling plastic flies at the lens. The final sequence is a veritable orgy of random people and household objects flying at the camera as the Amityville house has a coronary. If this movie had a story worth anything, all the gratuitous 3D effects would be a bothersome distraction. As it is, they're the only thing that breaks up the monotony.

The Amityville house doesn't seem to have an agenda this time. In the first two films, it had a clear goal in mind. In this one, it pretty much just does random things at random times. Why it kills one person and evades another perhaps not even the screenwriters know.

The film is more boring than painful, which makes it more watchable than the second movie, even though it's worse in almost every way. Forget about character motivation. Forget about logic. Forget about trying to follow a minor character's explanation of what's going on at the end, or why he would know anyway.

I think what bothered me more than anything, though, was how unrealistically people act in this movie. It does the old horror movie cliche of trying to scare the audience as much by the characters jumping suddenly when startled as by what startles them. The problem is, it's absurdly overacted. People recoil and scream in fright at things that, in real life, would be more perplexing than scary. Too much of this, and the characters stop being believable. But it's ok. They never started off believable, so nothing is lost.

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