Tom Berry, 1990
Starring: Kim Coates, Dawna Wightman, Cassandra Gava, Jan Rubes
Marvin and his wife Debbie buy a house in order to renovate and sell it. They get three of their friends to help them with the renovation project, but a number of strange things begin to occur around the house. The old housekeeper pays them a visit and is killed. They learn that a priest was murdered in the neighboring church. It just so happens that their basement contains some of the church’s furniture, which may be haunted with the priest’s spirit. It becomes clear that a murderer is loose in the house and they have to figure out whether it is a ghost or an all too human perpetrator before they are all killed.
I watched this a few years ago on TV because Canadian actor Kim Coates (Sons of Anarchy) stars, but that was as much a mistake then as it is now. This U.S.-Canadian coproduction has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the Amityville Horror series and it is a mystery why it’s called The Amityville Curse. Sure, it happens to take place in Amityville in an allegedly haunted house, but it’s a different house than the one featured in the first three films and has a completely different backstory involving a murdered priest. Though the producers and director allegedly got the rights to the Amityville Horror franchise, they did not remotely attempt to use the same exterior house and very, very few references are made to the first four films. The film is also allegedly based on Hans Holzer’s book of the same name, but I don’t see how.
Allegro creator Tom Berry directed the film and it is worth mentioning that his production company is responsible for some other late ‘80s and ‘90s Canadian B-grade disasters like The Paperboy. If only Amityville Curse was as entertaining as The Paperboy. I wish I could say some good things about this, as there are a few entertaining scenes, but it is so, insufferably slow that it’s impossible to recommend. The characters are poorly written, as is the script in general, and the acting is appalling. Kim Coates is marginally entertaining, Czech actor Jan Rubes (The X-Files) appears as the priest, and Mark Camacho (Punisher: War Zone) makes an appearance. Otherwise the main cast is obscure and forgettable.
Debbie (Dawna Wightman) is almost likable, but spends almost the entire film whining and crying about various things. She does manage to get her hands on some weapons and survive till the end of the film, though. More could have been made of Debbie and her husband’s abusive, somewhat disturbing relationship and I wish they had focused on this instead of the absurd priest’s ghost in the basement, allegedly lingering to get revenge on his killer.
Though the screenwriters tried to force this to be a haunted house movie - an Amityville Horror sequel no less - it is essentially a slasher film about a bunch of people being murdered in an old house. I think it probably would have been a better movie without these enforced changes, but I guess we’ll never know. As a loose slasher, it suffers because we pretty much know who the killer is from the get go. The haunted elements ineffectively cross over with real human threats and there is bizarre mix of scares and spooky events. The clocks are stuck at the same time, someone is attacked by a tarantula, a bathtub fills up with blood, Debbie writes strange things in her sleep, and books launch themselves across the room. Maybe I missed something, but why is there a tarantula?
The Amityville Curse has never been released on region 2 DVD, but if you are determined to be bored, there’s a region 2 DVD or you can easily download the movie online. Absolutely not recommended.