Writer: Sandor Stern (Screenplay) Jay Anson (Book)
Starring: James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger, Don Stroud, Murray Hamilton, John Larch, Natasha Ryan
Plot: Newlyweds move into a large house where a mass murder was committed, and experience strange manifestations which drive them away.
Tagline – The best-selling novel about a haunted house… has become real!
Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Chilling Horror
Story: The Amityville Horror starts one year after the family is massacred in the house, with George (Brolin) and Kathy (Kidder) moving their family Amy, Greg and Matt into the house which is a dream home for the price for the couple. When the priest Father Delaney (Steiger) gets haunted by his visit to the home, it just seems to be the beginning of the horror the family is going to experience.
As the family spends more time in the house, George starts to change in the eyes of Kathy, Father Delaney believes something is wrong in the house, could there be something more to the previous year’s massacre?
Thoughts on The Amityville Horror
Characters – George Lutz is the husband and step-father to the children, he has always been kind to those children and supportive to his wife. When inside the house he starts to act differently, short tempered and angry towards the family, it looks like he is starting to believe in the evil in the house. Kathy is the one that starts to see the change in her husband, believing there is something going on within the house, she turns to religion for answers who only offer her warnings. Father Delaney gets forced out of the house on his first visit, he gets sick and hears a voice warning him to leave, he struggles to get the church to believe him as he wants to help the family who he believes is in danger.
Performances – James Brolin in the leading role goes through the transformation which is both disturbing and haunting, which makes it one of the best in the era of horror. Margot Kidder is great as the wife and mother seeing her family in danger and see this in her reactions to the haunting events. Rod Steiger is good in his role though it does feel like most other religious figure roles that we have seen.
Story – The haunting events of the Amityville is one of the most talked about in modern horror events history, it has been put through the ringer more than any other paranormal event. This follows the family as we see their account of the story, the one that most people question, away from just questioning on whether it is real or not, we get to see one man’s transformation as the spirits of the house start to take control of him, much like the events from the year before. We must get through the will power to not get beaten by possession and just how this story took the world with pure shock value. This does slowly build the tension with the effects on the family, we have moments that visitors go through and are left guessing to just where the events will go.
Horror – If you put any horror event inside the home, you instantly get a much more deeper feeling of fear through the film. the place you feel is the safest becomes the place where the terror attacks.
Settings – The film keeps a lot of the horror inside the home, the iconic home with the evil looking windows, when we leave we generally only get to visit the church environment following the priest side of the story.
Special Effects – The effects are great for the time, they are simple and only come into effect when needed to make an impact in certain scenes.
Final Thoughts – This is one of the most effective horrors of the late 70’s, it has chilling moments, strong performance and will keep the conversation about the events in the home alive.
Overall: Chilling and disturbing horror.