Another rip-off of Ringu? Sure seems like that, doesn't it? However, I'm talking about Amityville 3-D, an admittedly derivative slice of filler material that was released in 1983... years upon years before Koji Suzuki would write the novel that would become The Ring. Could he have been influenced by this film? Methinks he's made of sterner stuff. However the similarity (though brief) is undeniable.
As for the rest of the film? Quite frankly, I could deny it... three times before the cock crows in fact. Like the previous film in the "Series" (see sidebar), this film could suck the chrome off of a bumper, however, it's just not bad enough to call a complete Dog. There's just something fun about this haunted house with the ever-changing monsters waiting to bitch-slap every resident in short succession that it can get its three fingered paw on. There's also something damned, damned funny about watching purportedly intelligent people staying in an obviously haunted house, and suddenly being shocked that it didn't work out. Ah, hell!
Tony Roberts (always watchable even with his Mike Brady white-dude afro) is John Baxter, a skeptical journalist who buys the Amityville House after debunking (some of) the strange phenomenon as a hoax. Johnny-boy maintains his smirking, self assured denial as one by one everyone who comes in contact with the house buys the proverbial farm! You have to admire the guy's stoicism and his level of utilitarian acceptance that Diogenes would be proud of.
However, as if Baxter isn't deluded enough yet, his daughter Susan (Lori Loughlin) and her bestest girl friend Lisa (Meg Ryan, yes, Meg Ryan!) perform a Ouija Board Séance, which causes the ectoplasm to hit the fan! What follows is ground-breaking, Earth-Shaking, Demon-Waking, and Plot-Snaking!
Yes, Yes... Not only is the plot of this movie more than a lot borrowed from the previous Amityville flicks, but it owes quite a debt to the previous year's Haunted House flick Poltergeist (which, many claim, was based on the original The Amityville Horror, so the spiral of borrowers goes on and on). Yes, it's safe to say that Amityville III: The Demon (as it's sometimes called) is as derivative as FearDotCom is of Ringu. On the other hand, there is that girl-in-the-well scene that could give any Ring-a-ding-ding-fan pause.
One of the most interesting little tidbits about this flick is the fact that it was originally released in 3-D (and released on Video as Amityville III: The Demon). The current DVD Release (as Amityville 3-D) Proudly states "Amityville 3-D is not presented in 3-D Format - No 3-D Glasses Needed". Still, 3-D was written all over this thing, dating it along with Friday the Thirteenth 3-D, Freddy's Dead the Final Nightmare, Jaws 3-D and 3-D Ladies' Locker Room Caught on Tape. The "3-D" (often animated) special effects are almost funny as demonic insects fly out in a bad layering, or a Boom-Mic operator or Flash-Light holder bounds out at you like a Paparazzi demand for an Interview. Still one can't help but think, with the choices they've made, that this film must have been much, much cooler in a 3-D format. As it stands, it's an exploitative re-tread, as original as "Vanilla Pepsi", and one I feel equally guilty for... kind of liking!
Too much cheese is bad for you! So, heed my warning, Amityville 3-D gets a mere Two Stars out of five! For fans of Haunted House movies Only, and even then, it's no more than a fun little guilty pleasure. Remind me never to watch another Horror Movie with my wife in the house. Here I am watching this haunted little flick about a Poltergeist-Infested house opening and closing doors and windows when my wife bursts in like a whirlwind and says "What are you watching?"; then a few minutes later with "Is it good?"; then again with "What time is this over?"; and finally with "Hey, how do you like my new Halloween Mask and Machete?" Look at the circles under my eyes! I haven't slept in Weeks!
I can hardly wait... Baby!
I can hardly wait till you click here... for more re-view-hoos!