Horror Movie Review: Amityville Dollhouse (1996)


I feel like I’ve been here before…

The 8th instalment of the Amityville franchise continues the trend of pretending it isn’t the 8th in a tired & ‘should be taken out back’ and shot, franchise. It also continues the tend of ignoring almost all the movies that came before it & basing it on a haunted inanimate object, in this case it is a dollhouse.

…but wait! Don’t walk off! This dollhouse is modeled on 112 Ocean Avenue, the Amityville House! That got your attention, didn’t it?

Amityville Dollhouse Pic 2

The Martin family have moved into their new house built by the man of the house himself, Bill. He has recently married Claire & both have had children from previous relationships. Claire has Jimmy, a young boy who might be the nerdiest kid I’ve seen in a horror movie ever. He’s so annoying & deserves everything her gets including a terrifying tarantula to the face.

While Bill has Todd, his eldest (also the worst actor in the film by a mile) & his child daughter, Jessica. It is her who is gifted with the dollhouse on her birthday after Bill finds it in a shed.

Amityville Dollhouse Pic 1

Once the dollhouse is inside the house, strange occurrences begin (don’t they always?). The fireplace turns on by itself, Bill dreams his daughter is trapped in the fire & the dollhouse lights come on randomly. It’s all so-so but things get interesting when Jessica discovers creepy hand-made dolls inside the dollhouse.

She begins to feel unwell & as the days go by tensions begin to rise between family members. Claire begins to become attracted to the teenage Todd & has fantasies about having sex with him. Bill has nightmares about demons & the death of all his family. Todd is attacked by a huge fly & is constantly at loggerheads with Jimmy especially after he accidently kills his pet rat.

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Jimmy, hating his new family is visited by his dad. A wise-cracking crack zombie ripped straight from the movie, House with a sprinkling of An American Werewolf in London’s zombie decay. His dad wants Bill dead.

All of these incidents & more are the products of the dollhouse which is a portal to another dimension housing demonic creatures. The fire place is the key & tied into Bill’s past.

There is a lot going in this movie & it struggles to explain most of them by the end. While the attraction Claire feels for Todd is an interesting plot development it’s really mishandled by the end without a clear resolution. It just suddenly stops so the rest of the stories can be told.

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It’s a pity because that side of things is better than another pointless Todd & Jimmy mis-understanding. It’s a trope that is way overused in horror… boring & predictable.

The film doesn’t really do anything different than most films involving ghostly goings on until the final 15 minutes when the dimension on the other side of the house/fireplace comes into play. Here we get more insight into the Amityville story, an attempt to progress it, something that few of the other movies have tried.

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Not bad…that’s really all that can be said. In a series that has made it to its 8th incarnation stumbling all over the place, that is high praise.

Amityville Dollhouse
  • 5/10
    The Final Score - 5/10
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