Thoughts on “Amityville III: The Demon”

This is the last of the three Amityville movies in that pack I picked up, and so my hope was that it would provide some kind of link between the movies, because the first two movies were completely disconnected from each other.  As it turns out, this movie can’t be a link between the two because it contradicts and ignores them both in its own special way.

The main premise is that someone who writes for a magazine and specializes in debunking the supernatural decides to buy the Amityville house, as he and his wife are divorcing and he can get the house really cheap.  His teenage daughter and her friend — a young Lori Loughlin and Meg Ryan, respectively — come to see the house because her friend is obsessed with the story behind the Amityville murders.  Strange things start to happen, and the daughter and her friends mess around with a makeshift Ouija board, and then she drowns when they take out a boat, but somehow her spirit gets caught by the demon in the house and a paranormal researcher friend — who has been used as a reference throughout the movie — explains that the demon is using the daughter and sacrifices himself to help them set the daughter’s spirit free.

This movie is another one that tries to play off of the burgeoning 3-D technology of the time, like “Jason 3”.  However, unlike that movie it doesn’t seem to pander to 3-D as much.  There are a few scenes that are set up to have something come out of the screen at you — like a pipe from a truck in a car accident — most of the scenes that would do stuff like that don’t stand out, which is good.  Although I suspect, then, that people who wanted to see the 3-D stuff would be disappointed by that, but it does make the movie hold up a bit better when the 3-D aspects are stripped from the movie.

Despite there being a focus on this being a demon, this is far more a straight ghost story than a demonic one like the previous movie.  I liked that it built the scares up more slowly, but found that it didn’t explain anything any more than the other movies did.  I don’t really know anything about the demon or where it came from or what it wanted than anything else, which makes the ending more confusing than really scary or heartwarming.  This carries over to the main emotional plot of the movie, where the main character’s ex-wife wants to keep the daughter away from the house but when she drowns — and the mother sees the daughter walking into the house — she wants to stay in this house that isn’t hers because of that, and accuses the husband of never believing in the house, which is fair but doesn’t have a lot of emotional oomph because he was being reasonable and she was being paranoid for the most part since nothing had happened yet, and that she gets such focus at the end of the movie is strange because she was an extremely minor character for the rest of the movie.  If it were up to me, I would have had them buy the house together and live there, where she started to believe it was haunted and he didn’t, and then have her leave with the daughter over the house, and then return when the daughter dies.  This would have made her a more important part of the story and justify the accusations she made against them, but also allow for the house to have influence over her and get her to act as strangely as she does at the end.  As it stands, the daughter gets more play and then gets completely dropped at the end.

So, here’s why this movie doesn’t fit in with the other movies.  The friend goes through a description of the murders and since we saw that in “The Possession” that could be a link to that movie … except her description is clearly different from what happened in that movie (for example, who was killed where) and so can’t be referring to that one, or at least it would be a stretch.  It is closer to what we saw in the first movie, but other than that there are no other references to anything in the first movie, and so it comes across like the two of them creating different interpretations of the same events, and so they still seem disconnected from each other.

Ultimately, that’s the real issue with this entire set of three movies.  Despite them being advertised on the box as being in the same series, they are all completely disconnected from each other and so feel a lot more like a set of different approaches to and interpretations of the events rather than things that link to each other and support each other.  That’s also probably why we never really seem to find out anything about what is going on in the house because instead of each movie fleshing out things the other movies talked about instead they are all exploring their own interpretation and so can’t really build on what came before. nor is anything they do any kind of set up for what comes later.  That hurts it as a series and each movie individually.

For this movie, I spent most of it thinking and hoping that it was just that the movie’s flaws hit the things I happen to really dislike.  And in some sense, that’s true of this movie and of the entire series, as I think they are credibly creepy enough but the lack of clarity really bugs me.  But the fact that they are all completely disconnected from each other I do think is an issue and will make people like it less than they would have otherwise.  For me, though, despite the movies being competently executed and acted, I don’t think I want to watch these movies again, and so will likely put them in my box of movies to possibly sell at some point.  There just isn’t enough here to keep me interested enough to bother with again.

Next up, I’m going to go through four of the “Psycho” movies.


One Response to “Thoughts on “Amityville III: The Demon””

  1. Thoughts on “Psycho 4” | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] talked about all four movies, what do I think of the disk and them as a series?  Well, unlike the Amityville movies, these four movies actually are a series, each of them playing off of each other and picking up […]

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