Thursday, June 23, 2005

Amityville II: The Possession

I watched Amityville II: The Possession last night. A review in a recent issue of Rue Morgue magazine suggested it was worthwhile for its Italian horror flavor courtesy of director Damiano Damiani.

Well, there certainly is that flavor. I'm not sure how much I cared for it, though, in context. I think the European pacing worked against the more American story structure screenwriter Tommy Lee Wallace had set down... or they both worked against each other. Certainly it worked in places as the possession was taking hold, but ultimately it didn't quite hold together.

The cast is game, if uneven. Burt Young is cast mostly because of his general likeability working against the inherent unlikeability of his character. Jack Magner does an excellent job as Sonny, the boy becoming possessed, so much that I can't help wishing he got a better movie to showcase this. James Olson as the priest brings nothing, but then his whole segment of the story goes nowhere for me.

And then there's the lovely Diane Franklin, star of The Last American Virgin and Better Off Dead. If I take my friend Erech up on his challenge, she could make my list of best movie star breasts. She's also a charming actress and the movie loses something when she dies. She brings her natural innocence and charm to her role, which is basically what was needed to make that character sympathetic.

Ok, so I probably spoiled some of you, but really. This movie is very loosely based on the real Amityville Murders case, making it a prequel (a word I despise) to The Amityville Horror, so the fate of the family should come as a surprise to no one. And it's not really the ending, although it really ought to have been. It was a strong but uneven movie up until that point.

After that, well, there's a whole Catholic church politicking, demon possession, police procedural, exorcism conclusion that basically goes on forever and accomplishes nothing dramatic. It's quite a drag.

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