The current ‘found footage’ fad that has been made popular by the Paranormal Activity films is applied to the long-played out Amityville Horror series in this blatant, flat rip-off. In the latest installment Doug Benson convinces his reluctant wife to move into the famous house arguing that they would never be able to get a house this large with their budget. Their teenage son, Greg, a budding filmmaker, documents everything with his movie camera. Their angst-ridden older daughter wants nothing to do with any of them and spends most of her time texting, brooding and complaining as all girls do. Their youngest daughter, who starts talking to an imaginary friend, seems happy to be anywhere.
From day one things go badly. Their real estate agent passes out and dies and one of the movers falls down the staircase to his demise. Soon doors begin opening and closing on their own volition and a nasty (nest?) of flies shows up (where do flies live?). Convinced that his children are responsible for all the kafuffle, Doug sets up cameras around the house to catch them in the act (what a jerk!). This combination of still cameras and Greg’s film footage are pieced together to explain what eventually happens to the doomed family.
Copying the exact tone and structure of the Paranormal films The Amityville Haunting is mostly a disaster. The plagiarism is so blatant I wonder if the creator of Paranormal Activity is in a law office as I write this review. The film takes place over the course of 5 days and just like the Paranormal films we get a date and time-stamp throughout the story. There are a few scares to be had, but boy is this a lazy movie! Clearly shot quickly and on a very low budget, the acting is abysmal and someone was not paying attention to detail (e.g. Greg wears the same outfit the entire time, gross!). My sense is that the script was very loose enabling the actors to adlib their (bad) dialogue. Near the beginning of the movie Greg informs the movers that their new house is the famous Amityville house and the movers say that they never heard of it – really?