AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING
Amityville: The Awakening comes from the near ubiquitous Blumhouse who have been having great success in recent years with the Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Purge and Ouija films (see below), The director is the French-born Franck Khalfoun, a former Alexandre Aja associate who previously made the Aja-produced and written likes of P2 (2007) and the remake of Maniac (2012), as well as i-Lived (2015). The film has lurked in limbo since it shooting completed in 2014 with no less than seven different release dates being announced and then changed. It was long enough for Cameron Monaghan to go from a supporting player here to gain fame as the embryonic Joker on tvs Gotham (2014 ). Not to mention for the name of Harvey Weinstein that prominently pops up in the credits to go from an industry leader to utterly reviled.
Amityville: The Awakening emerges as a better film than you expect given the problems it had in release. Its not a great film or even too much more than average on most counts but at least it charts better than the majority of tawdry abovelisted efforts that come with Amityville in the title. Franck Khalfouns scares are routine and by the book for the greater part mysterious shapes and figures flitting on the periphery of the frame, momentary glimpses of an undead Cameron Monaghan, characters popping-up wearing pig masks accompanied by shrieks on the soundtrack. On the other hand, the film does have some amusingly meta moments, like when Bella Thorne decides to host her friends sitting down to watch the 1979 original in the house at the same time that Ronald DeFeo is supposed to have conducted the murders.
The most interesting part of the film is when it comes to Cameron Monaghan as the comatose brother who slowly starts to respond once in the house. As the mother, Jennifer Jason Leighs performance comes with an interesting ambiguity, including a possible dream sequence where she seems to be in the room with son Monaghan caressing her naked body, and the revelations she knew about the houses history all along and chose it after deliberately abandoning belief in God (an aspect that you wish had been brought out more). On the other hand, the effective build up of mood often has its payoff cut by the turn to schlock like a swarm of flies all disappearing into neurologist Kurtwood Smiths mouth or Bella Thornes undoing of the oxygen tube intercut with a flash fantasy of a zombified Cameron Monaghan jumping off the bed to attack her, yelling Youre the one whos going to fucking die. It is something that leaves Amityville: The Awakening sitting just between potential effectiveness and schlocky.
Jason Blum and his Blumhouse production company have produced a number of other genre films including:- Hamlet (2000), Paranormal Activity (2007) and sequels, Insidious (2010) and sequels, Tooth Fairy (2010), The Bay (2012), The Lords of Salem (2012), The River (tv series, 2012), Dark Skies (2013), Oculus (2013), The Purge (2013) and sequels, the tv mini-series Ascension (2014), Creep (2014), Jessabelle (2014), Mercy (2014), Mockingbird (2014), Not Safe for Work (2014), Ouija (2014) and sequel, 13 Sins (2014), The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014), Unfriended/Cybernatural (2014), Area 51 (2015), The Boy Next Door (2015), Curve (2015), The Gallows (2015), The Gift (2015), Jem and the Holograms (2015), The Lazarus Effect (2015), Martyrs (2015), Visions (2015), The Visit (2015), The Darkness (2016), Hush (2016), Incarnate (2016), The Veil (2016), Viral (2016), Get Out (2017), Happy Death Day (2017), The Keeping Hours (2017), Split (2017) and Stephanie (2017).