Hey guys, Ben here. Horrorella is still at work getting her reports up from Fantastic Fest and dropped in a review of a film that I’m rather interested in seeing myself, My Amityville Horror. I’ve read the book and love the original film starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder so this documentary definitely peeks my interest. Read on to see what Horrorella thought of it.
Everyone is at least a little familiar with the Amityville Horror case. You’ve probably seen at least one of the movies, read the book, or are at least a little familiar with the ultimate (and supposedly true) haunted house story from the way it has permeated pop culture.
Quick recap: In late 1975, George and Kathleen Lutz moved into a home in Amityville, New York with their three children. They moved out 28 days later, fleeing across the country, and leaving all of their possessions behind. When they went public with the full story, they claimed that the house had been possessed and that a series of strange and increasingly dangerous events had taken place during their time in the house, including, but certainly not limited to, numerous cold spots, strange figures being seen in the windows, the sudden appearance of masses of flies and dramatic personality changes among the family members.
The first film from director Eric Walter, this documentary marks the first time that the eldest child, Danny Lutz, has come forward to speak about his experiences. The doc consists of interviews with Danny, interviews with a reporter who interviewed the family at the time of the events, conversations with Lorraine Warren who is a noted demonologist that investigated the case, as well as interviews with several other mediums and reporters who were involved with not only in the case but the media blitz that followed it going public.
Most interesting (and important) is the time spent with Danny as he recalls his experiences and how he reacted (and continues to react) to them. He’s not here to tell you that everything depicted in the film is true; instead, he is here to explain what he remembers from living in that house, which is something that he never had the opportunity to do at the time and something that he regrets.
The heart of this documentary is the fact that, regardless of what you, the audience, believe about this story, Danny has been affected by these events for almost 40 years. Whatever happened in that house has had a lasting impact on him which you have the opportunity to hear about first-hand and is what gives My Amityville Horror much of its soul.
The film is a fascinating story, and a really well-made documentary – particularly from a first-time filmmaker. Walter does an excellent job of balancing all of the elements at play. He gives Danny the opportunity to tell his story while also allowing the other interviewees, as well as experts in psychology, to offer alternative explanations for what may have been going on, all while maintaining an unbiased perspective. This isn’t set up as a thrill-seeking publicity piece or a freak show. It is thoughtfully structured and very balanced, offering a very even-handed approach to the material.
You may walk away with a different opinion of the events. You may have your opinion confirmed. Ultimately, all of that takes a backseat to the connection that you feel you have made with Daniel Lutz through hearing about his experiences and the aftermath first hand. This is an incredibly interesting and heart-felt film and you should absolutely check it out when you have the opportunity.