Thursday, March 14

My Amityville Horror Review

My Amityville Horror
Dir: Eric Walter

“Based on a true story” is a method applied to ground a film with a sense of reality. How much truth within the adapted work is usually the real question? The infamous Long Island haunted house, dissected and routinely tailored in literature and the media, isn’t the key focus of My Amityville Horror. Instead, the film centers on the reality encountered by Daniel Lutz, the eldest son of the tormented family portrayed in classic The Amityville Horror. What transpires in this documentary is a slow burning, revealing examination of a man afflicted by the life long distress associated with a broken home life, but also the questioning stigma associated with living in the most infamous of all American haunted houses.

28 Days. That’s the length of time the Lutz family spent in the colonial house on 112 Ocean Avenue before supernatural forces supposedly forced them out. The spectacle that transpired in the aftermath is where the documentary focuses the initial perspective. Daniel’s account is convincing and discomforting. Hearing the version from his uneasy yet resolute standpoint, all of which involves hoards of flies, strange odors, and otherworldly voices displayed in numerous media renderings, substantiates that Daniel was severely scared by the ordeal. Director Erik Walker and other paranormal experts clarify the mystery of the strange occurrences to a small extent with some logical investigation, though answers will remain somewhat ambiguous for those wanting certified proof. However, Daniel’s unwavering belief is a demonstration that is difficult not to believe.

The second aspect of the film, revealed about half way through, could be far more terrifying than anything supernatural in the house. Walker turns a corner at the right place, focusing on life away from the sinister house and allowing Daniel to break a strong emotional front and explore greater fears. Daniel’s stepfather, George Lutz, is portrayed as a controlling and threatening parent. Daniel, with Walker offering an approving lens, blatantly states abuse both physical and emotional. One of the most detrimental aspects of this portion of the film is how physically effected Daniel seems on camera when talking about his father, his tone and body language changes considerably. In further revealing aspects, Daniel displays emotional withdrawal to a point of uncontrolled violence against his father when he as alive. Whether this aspect is truly accurate can only be derived from Daniel’s suggestion yet again the certainty behind his words is hard to doubt.

The documentary standpoint is mostly biased, realizing the story from Daniel’s viewpoint. However, there are other people, like mental health professionals and past journalists, who are interviewed that offer some supporting insight. These individuals all add an interesting element to the examination of Daniel’s claims, however the bigger picture of the Amityville legend is kept secluded mostly because of the one-sided nature of the documentary.

My Amityville Horror is a good documentary and fans of the Amityville lore will find satisfaction in the insights of Daniel Lutz. Though the documentary is one-sided in perspective director Erik Walker does well to cover as many angles as he can conjure, considering many key people did not want to participate in the film. Though the supernatural incidences of the Amityville house are still speculative, the damaging effects of media sensation and the horrors associated with a damaged childhood are still very real for boy that experienced it.

Monte’s Rating
3.50 out of 5.00

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