|Submitted by Tyler Clark |
(Feb 15, 2004)
The Amityville Horror
The Amityville Horror, directed by Stuart Rosenberg, is a horror movie that explores the evil spirits found in the Lutz family’s new home. The movie takes place in the early 1970’s, somewhere in the United States. George Lutz (James Brolin) and his wife Kathleen Lutz (Margot Kidder) decide to buy a new house that was previously the scene of a brutal murder. Evil spirits from the previous owners fill the walls of the house. As time progresses, the Lutz family encounters strange and bizarre events that cannot be reasonably explained.
The film does a great job exploring supernatural powers that exude from the house. The spirits inside the house have the ability to open windows, close doors, and turn off the lights. In addition, the spirits are to work their way into the minds of the Lutz family. Amy Lutz (Natasha Ryan), the daughter of George and Kathleen, is able to see the evil spirits. Amy is also able to converse with her imaginary friend.
Director Stuart Rosenberg implements the use of lighting and shadows beautifully in this film. The majority of the day scenes are matched to fit the relaxing, bright mood. However, it is the dark night scenes that create feelings of terror. The director used lighting to detect the presence of the evil spirits. Since spirits are hard to see on a camera, Rosenberg was forced to use shadows to show the presence of spirits. Although you do not get to actually see the spirits, the shadows they create add to the suspense of the film.
The scariest part of the film deals with the violation of intimate relations among the Lutz family. In most cases, family members support each other in times of crisis. However in this film, there is a breach of trust among the family members. As the movie unfolds, certain characters change both in appearance and behavior. Family members begin to change and turn on one another. The family is divided and its members do not know who they can trust. This breach of family trust adds a scary twist to the film.
Since the viewers of the film are unable to see the spirits for the majority of the film, they must rely on the reactions of the actors to the spirits. The films only major weakness is the quality of acting. For a movie that relies on the screams and reactions of the victims, the actors did a poor job conveying their sense of emergency and fear. The lack of acting deteriorates the quality of the film.
As a whole, I thought the film was pretty good. The film incorporated a lot of classic horror techniques including ideas of the supernatural, lighting, shadows and the violation of intimate relationships. However, the pitiful acting takes what could have been a classic horror movie and turns it into a mediocre film. At the end of the day, I would rather pull out other horror films such as Chucky, Children of the Corn, The Shining, and even It.