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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.