On the night of November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. took a high-powered rifle and murdered his entire family as they slept. At his trial, DeFeo claimed that "voices" in the house commanded him to kill. This is their story.
One whole year before the Lutzes' arrival in Amityville, at the infamous house on 112 Ocean Avenue portrayed in The Amityville Horror (1979), the eldest son of Ronald and Louise DeFeo--the troubled twenty-three-year-old, Ronald "Butch" DeFeo Jr.--grabbed a powerful .35 calibre lever-action rifle, and executed his parents and his four unsuspecting siblings in their sleep. Claiming that indefatigable and penetrating "voices" compelled him to perform the atrocious deed, DeFeo Jr. was found guilty on six counts of second-degree murder and, until now, he remains in the maximum-security Sullivan Correctional Facility, New York. However, a thick mystery shrouds the gruesome findings of the police. Did Ronald, indeed, plant the seeds of evil in the notorious Amityville House?Written by
I have to admit, I was very skeptical entering what I believe is the 24th film surrounding the "true story" that took place on Amityville, Long Island in the 70's. This sequel takes us to yet another retelling of the DeFeo crimes which were done in Amityville II (1982).
We meet the DeFeo family who live in our infamous 112 Ocean Avenue Amityville house. During a birthday party, the teenagers take part in some sort of spirit awakening seance which appears to summon something evil. The man of the house Ronnie is an abusive father who beats his children and treats his wife terribly. Butch DeFeo is the oldest son of the family, which the evil Amityville spirit seems to target right away. We spend most of the film watching his decline as he becomes possessed. Eventually, it leads to the conclusion we all see coming.
A major issue with The Amityville Murders is that it isn't really all that scary, much like it's predecessors. We get the typical scares like eerie sounds in the house, doors and cupboards opening and closing on their own, creepy basement stuff, etc. There are some tense moments towards the end with Butch being completely taken over by the spirits, but again nothing we haven't seen done a hundred times before.
It was very nice to see Diane Franklin and Burt Young in this one. They were both in Amityville II: The Possession as father and daughter, and it brought a tear to my horror loving eye to see them reunited. Diane Franklin's role as the mother was a bit larger, and she played it beautifully. The rest were ok, including Chelsea Ricketts as the young teenage daughter Dawn and John Robinson as the possessed Butch DeFeo. His version of possessed teenage son Butch was much better than Jack Magner in Amityville II.
All in all, Amityville Murders is an average retelling of the Defeo murders which we saw told in 1982's Amityville II: The Possession. This film isn't actually all that bad and I enjoyed it more than the '82 sequel. My biggest issue with this film is that it is completely unnecessary. Did it add to anything I haven't already seen before in this series? Nope. It's worth a watch for horror completists, and is better than sequels like Amityville Curse and Amityville Asylum, but feels very average overall.
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