Thoughts on “Amityville Toybox”

Okay, movie, you got me.  You attached yourself to the “Amityville Horror” name and made me think that this was going to be part of or associated with that franchise and so would actually have some quality, when instead all you were was a B-movie or less that doesn’t even actually really relate to Amityville at all except in the most token and shallow ways.  So, yes, using the name got me to shell out money for it and add some to what must be your enormously underflowing coffers because of how terrible a movie you are and the fact that I got you for something like $10 at Walmart.  Well done.

As you might imagine, this is not a very impressive movie.  The basic premise is that there was a toy in the house where I guess the Amityville ghost encouraged the father to kill his family, and it was with a little girl when she was killed.  This same toy — a monkey bashing the cymbols — is then given to another father as his adult children and extended family gather at his house to celebrate his birthday.  They have a number of personal issues, which the movie brings up without ever resolving them or making them important to the plot, except that after he gets the monkey the ghost of his father suddenly appears and encourages him to kill all of them for their failings.  Such as they are.  So he proceeds to do just that, and despite there being some suspense as to whether one of them will escape — which, amazingly, is not the one the movie establishes as his favourite, which would at least have allowed for some emotional pathos and some relevance of that fact beyond a creepy lap dance scene where she as a hallucination seems to be attempting to seduce him — that is snuffed out.  Then the movie switches to a group of paranormal investigators investigating the house who attempt to explain what happened, implying that the issue was indeed the object but then finding a spirit after insisting that it’s the entire house that’s the issue now, somehow.  The spirit them seems to threaten kill the psychic and the movie ends on the traditional “The evil still exists and we’re going to end on it doing something to someone else to make everyone fear that it might happen to them!” line, which adds absolutely nothing and is, overall, pretty stupid.

The paranormal investigators part is actually somewhat interesting, but it’s just completely decoupled from everything else and doesn’t actually give a decent explanation for what’s going on, especially since it’s so short and at the end.  And as noted above the ending with “The horror continues!” really seems tacked on only to have that happen because, well, don’t good horror movies do that?  Ultimately, it’s just too little, too late and mangled like the rest of the movie.

Ah, the rest of the movie.  Bad acting, cheap cinematography, a confusing plot, characters and characterization … all of this adds up to perhaps calling this a B-Movie is an insult.  To B-Movies.  There’s not much positive that I can say about the movie other than that some of the actresses are at least pretty.  But they aren’t given enough to do — and no, I don’t mean more seduction scenes like that with the father or sex scenes like the one with her boyfriend — to make them worth watching.  While the movie is again one of the shorter ones, it’s not length that hurts it here.  It’s the fact that it doesn’t have anything approaching an interesting plot and seems to be assembled entirely out of standard horror tropes with no proper links between them that hurts it.  If it had better production values, then we might be willing to put up with the non-existent plot to at least watch the performances of good actors.  And if it had a better and more engaging plot, then we might forgive its cheap production values.  But since we have neither …

Ultimately, if you’re going to do a cheap, indie movie you really, really need to decide what you’re doing and aim the entire plot at getting that across, knowing your limitations.  This is one of the things that made “The Blair Witch Project” such a success, as it set out the story it wanted to tell and bent its limited resources to making that work.  This movie is one of those cheap movies that didn’t seem to try, and was made for the sake of being made.  And so, yes, again, it fooled me.  But that’s not a sustainable way to make money on a movie.  You really want people to say that it’s really good, not be fooled into watching it and toss it aside in disgust.

I think I might feel guilty if I did sell it to someone else.  I’m certainly not watching it again.


2 Responses to “Thoughts on “Amityville Toybox””

  1. Thoughts on “Haunting of the Mary Celeste” | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] of the Mary Celeste” is what you get if you take “Amityville Toybox” and give it good production values and care at all about the plot.  It’s a short movie, but […]

  2. Thoughts on “Amityville: The Awakening” | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] I was fooled once before with a movie that claimed the “Amityville” name but turned out to be a cheap and schlocky crap horror movie, and so was a little hesitant when approaching this one.  However, this one is indeed a fully professional Amityville movie.  Unfortunately, it still isn’t all that great. […]

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