Franchise Weekend – Amityville II: The Possession (1982)

Director: Damiano Damiani

Writer: Tommy Lee Wallace (Screenplay) Hans Holzer (Book)

Starring: James Olson, Burt Young, Rutanya Alda, Jack Magner, Andrew Prine, Diane Franklin, Moses Gunn

 

Plot: A family moves into their new home, which proves to be satanic, resulting in the demonic possession of the teenage son. Only the local priest can save him.


Tagline – The night of February 5, 1976, George and Kathleen Lutz fled their home in Amityville, New York. They got out alive! Their living nightmare shocked audiences around the world in “The Amityville Horror”. But before them, another family lived in this house and were caught by the original evil. They weren’t so lucky… this is their story!

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Enough Prequel

 

Story: Amityville II: The Possession starts with the Montelli family moving into a new home, father Anthony (Young), mother Delores (Alda) with children Sonny (Magner), Patricia (Franklin) Jan and Mark. The family has the normal problems with Anthony being very strict with how the children should be acting.

When Sonny the eldest starts acting differently and being isolated from the rest of the family, the only person to see the change in him is his sister Patricia who must deal with the unwanted advances from her own brother, the normally kind and friendly one.

 

Thoughts on Amityville II: The Possession

 

Characters – Father Adamsky is the priest asked to bless he house, Patricia turns to him when she needs help, he tries to help and is left in the middle of not being welcomed by the father and needing to accept his decision and thinking something is very wrong. Anthony is the father of the house, he doesn’t like religion and is strict with the children, he is short tempered in the home. Delores is the one that is welcoming the priest into the house, he notices too late the problems with her children. Sonny is the eldest son, he changes after moving into the house which makes him act out of character before he does the unthinkable.

PerformancesThe performances in this film are a step down, Jack Magner does keep us on edge with his performance which shows the transformation he goes through with the time in the hoe. James Olson does take the priest role to the next level which is better because we deal with the idea of the investigation. The parental figures are solid enough though they never hit the heights of the previous film.

StoryThe story here follows the family in the house before the Lutz, it does change the names for its own story which does tell the ideas which lead up to and after the murders in the home. This is all simple enough, we know the outcome for most of the family, so there was no point ending the film with this, the last half of the film follows a priest trying to help Sonny get the demon out of his body, while the legal side of the story plays out. This doesn’t hit the truly scary factors in the film because it does all into just another exorcism movie, trying to continue the legacy of the Amityville Horror. We do get the most random incest storyline which is awkward to watch and also is fictionalised for increased change in the Sonny character.

HorrorThe horror is mostly just hearing voices and falls into just exorcism style horror, nothing is overly scary and it depends what your feelings about exorcisms are.

SettingsThe film takes place in the home which shows the change, much like the first film, its when we hit the courtroom, hospital etc as we try to deal with the change things get slow.

Special EffectsFor the time this was released it would be fair to say the effects are good enough without being anything memorable.


Scene of the Movie –
The exorcism.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The incest side of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a prequel that tries to continue on the legacy of the Amityville story, we learn about the family before which only seems to be changed to make a more interesting family dynamic.

 

Overall: Simple, solid prequel.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – K – Kill the Messenger (2014)

Director: Michael Cuesta

Writer: Peter Landesman (Screenplay) Gary Webb, Nick Schou (Book)

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper, Oliver Platt, Michel Sheen, Andy Garcia

 

Plot: Based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb. The film takes place in the mid-1990s, when Webb uncovered the CIA’s past role in importing huge amounts of cocaine into the U.S. that was aggressively sold in ghettos across the country to raise money for the Nicaraguan Contras’ rebel army. Despite enormous pressure not to, Webb chose to pursue the story and went public with his evidence, publishing the series “Dark Alliance”. As a result he experienced a vicious smear campaign fueled by the CIA. At that point Webb found himself defending his integrity, his family, and his life.


Tagline –  How the CIA’s crack-cocaine controversy destroyed journalist Gary Webb

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Investigation Journalism 101

 

Story: Kill the Messenger starts as reporter Gary Webb (Renner) has been investigating the handling of drug dealers who are fond not guilty in a court of law. This opens the door for Gary to a whole new story about how the CIA had been using drug trade to fund a war in Nicaragua.

The deeper Gary got into the story the more the CIA put pressure on him as he must regain his reputation after the CIA pulls the same tricks to disgrace him.

 

Thoughts on Kill the Messenger

 

Characters – The characters in this film are based on the real people, we are looking at their own decisions which would have put them in the position they find themselves in. Gary Webb is a reporter, he believes he has the biggest story of his career which puts his own family life and career on the line by trying to expose the CIA. Sue is the wife that sees her personal life become part of the sideshow in the press. We do have many other reporters, contacts, CIA agents, lawyers and even the drug dealers themselves who interact with Gary as the story comes to the light of day.

PerformancesJeremy Renner is the star of this film, he does a great job in the leading role dealing with the different situations he finds himself in. the film is filled with great performances from the characters actors we have seen in plenty of films through the years.

StoryThe story here shows us one man’s determination to try and bring a story to life, one that could expose the governments secrets. This brings him into a personal battle against the CIA who are trying to ruin his reputation and destroy his creditability. The is based on the real man and the real story which once again shows us just how governments can become corrupt for their own gain. Though this is based on the true story, it does feel like it is lacking something to truly bring us into the film, we find ourselves just on the side lines of the story which never reaches the levels it could do.

Biopic/Crime/MysteryThe biopic side of this film is the important part of the film, we focus on the man whose story turned people against him even though he was exposing a big crime within the government.

SettingsThe settings do take us around America and even through the North America countries as we see where the truth is being designed to send us to the different corners of the truth.


Scene of the Movie –
Speech.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Driving looked terribly fake.

Final ThoughtsThis is a biopic movie that does set out to show us the truth about the CIA using the drug trade to fund a war but quickly turns into the CIA trying to discredit the man behind it all, it doesn’t reach the highest levels we are hoping for even it Renner does shine through the film.

 

Overall: One for the biopic fans out there.

Rating