Quantcast

Amityville: The Awakening (Blu-ray Review)

Well, here we are. Finally. Its November of 2017, and the three year long joke of if this latest Amityville Horror franchise entry was going to ever be released or seen by anyone is officially over. It exists, I’ve seen it and I am here to tell the tale. So were some of the people that were part of the seven hundred dollar plus opening weekend that took the box office by storm.  Or the folks that watched the film for free on Google Play the week before that.  After two false starts within this year alone, the haunting tale was ready to be unleashed upon the world. Now, you too can own and watch the movie when it releases on November 14th.  Be sure you go ahead and pre-order the film by clicking the Amazon link at the end of this review.

Film 

In Amityville: The Awakening, Belle and her family move into a new house, but when strange phenomena begin to occur in the house, Belle begins to suspect her mother isn’t telling her everything. She soon realizes they just moved into the infamous Amityville house.

Amityville: The Awakening is pretty much a shrug and yawn in terms of how good it is. Though, when throwing it in the franchise of Amityville films, its right up with all of the others. Aside from the first two and the Ryan Reynolds-led Platinum Dunes remake from the early 00s, and give or take a incidental chuckle fest of a straight to video sequel, NONE of these movies were any good to begin with. There are eighteen damn movies with this moniker on it and revolving around the events of the old Defeo home murders. Most of these are garbage, this is no different, but maybe it stench is less stinky.

This movie has one of the best casts of any in the series.  None of them are really slumming it or just mailing it in either. Material may be subpar, but these folks are all selling it quite well.  Bella Thorne is a capable B-level horror lead, and I honestly would like to see her in slasher film as she seems perfect for one (Not counting her “High profile actor opening scene kill” in the first season of MTV’s Scream). Jennifer Jason Leigh and Kurtwood Smith give honest turns that help keep this thing afloat. If you’re familiar with the show Gotham, then you’ll know what Cameron Monogahn is capable of and he’s bringing that same element and energy here in this one as your creepy possessed character.

While this movie doesn’t work and obviously isn’t very good, I do give it credit for having a somewhat neat idea underneath it all.  No, I’m not talking about the meta approach to the original series canon (Everything is movies in this world). I’ve always thought the original Defeo story was much more interesting and infinitely more disturbing and haunting than the Lutz maybe it did/maybe it didn’t happen story. That’s why the sequel Amityville II: The Possession is my favorite in this series and I feel a jump above the first movie. Sadly, I don’t recommend this movie, but I also don’t want to spoil things, but this one really taps into that well for its angle and approach to the lore of the house.

I agree that the film is lousy, but a lot of the Amityville sequels are. This one at least boasts a capable cast and sorta feels it offers a little more in production that many of those 1990s straight to video sequels. While bad, its not so bad that they needed to be afraid of releasing this into theaters. Blumhouse produced it, so there’s no way the budget was anything much at all. With a hair of marketing, the Blumhouse name and a decent weekend of release, this thing could have took in ten to fifteen million. Instead, they just kept holding off, making a joke of it, building fear and then having it fall on its face with an embarrassing take. They were right in terms of it being a bad movie, but bad movies still make money at the box office.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-25

Clarity/Detail:  Well, you can tell this one was rushed and just put out to be put out with little care. No, its not terrible, but for a more modern film in the year 2017, this thing should look very good without even trying. Instead, you get a pretty soft looking image that is much too washed out, very light on the details/textures of things and overall just sort of dingy with some crushing issues and overall unimpressive.

Depth:  This looks okay, its not flat, but offers nothing really in terms of having good separation or a three dimensional appeal. Movements are smooth and natural with some blurring/jittering issues (at minimum) during rapid movements.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep, but also problematic. Many details find themselves hidden in the shadows and the darkness. There are also many instances of the image and nighttime/darkness scenes having crushing issues.

Color Reproduction: Color isn’t this one’s strong suit as the film goes for a total washed out look. Naturals come off boldly rustic and full.  Some clothes and things like Bella Thorne’s lipstick come on strong during this.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are a bit cold and washed out, keeping the same tone and look throughout the film with good consistency.  Facial details are pretty strong in close ups, but smooth out a bit more in medium and long shots.

Noise/Artifacts: Aside from the aforementioned crushing, this is pretty clean.

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Dynamics: This 5.1 track isn’t a bad mix by any means, but its just sort of there. It sounds just above average, but the volume winds up being lower and everything feels like it was done just to a point to get a bare minimum done. As the video disappointed by not just easily being good, this one finds itself filling that “easily being good” kinda role.  It gets the job done, no more, no less.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension:  Engines, a hatchet hacking away at a wall, gunfire, jump scare stings and some musical hits all have the subwoofer giving a decent bump.

Surround Sound Presentation: This is mainly a front-heavy track, no surprise. Rear channels are kept to ambiance and maybe an occasional unique piece of participation. Movements and sound placement find themselves accurate to onscreen behavior.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is clear and crisp with everybody audible at all times no matter how frantic the action.

Extras 

Amityville: The Awakening come with an UltraViolet digital copy.

The Making Of Amityville: The Awakening (HD, 5:01) – Bella Thorne loves horror movies and when she got this audition she was like “Whaaat?!” Which pretty much sums up this clip heavy making of that has some generic press interviews about the Amityville story and this film.

Summary 

Amityville: The Awaken has finally…awoken…onto Blu-ray and is now widely available to behold. Although, like most Amityville movies, there isn’t much there worth beholding. This one obviously feels like an obligation to release it on the format was met at the minimal of standards to get done. The video quality is a bit disappointing and lacking to go with an audio track that’s basically the bare essentials. The “Making Of” bonus feature offers nothing, really. Do you really want to see this? Wait til its free somewhere you are already subscribing to and then check it out.

Share

Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

  1. No Comments