Last year it was announced that the 19th motion picture to bear the Amityville name would soon make its way to theaters. Produced by the unstoppable Blumhouse Productions, the creative force behind the Paranormal Activities and Conjuring franchises, and featuring such recognizable faces as Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bella Thorne, and Kurtwood Smith, it was hoped the movie would be the one to reinvigorate the Amityville brand.
This is not that movie.
This is Amityville Exorcism, the 18th movie to bear the Amityville name. It’s produced by Polonia Brothers Entertainment, the creative minds behind such films as Triclops, Muckman, Peter Rottentail, and Splatter Farm, and features Marie DeLorenzo and Jeff Kirkendall, actors you would only recognize if you’ve watched movies like Empire of the Apes, Sharkenstein, or Bigfoot Vs. Zombies (and Lord help me, I have).
You see, producers of low budget schlock learned long ago that the name Amityville can’t be trademarked. So, not only do we get high profile productions like the original The Amityville Horror and the supposedly upcoming Amityville: The Awakening, but we also get tons of slipshod knock-offs like The Amityville Asylum and The Amityville Playhouse (not to be confused with the slightly superior The Amityville Dollhouse).
All I can say is that it’s a good thing for such movies that Amityville is a town and not a person, otherwise they would definitely be guilty of breaking The Eighth Commandment. That’s the one which forbids any falsehood that does injury to one's neighbor, including unjustly ruining their good name. Heck, despoiling someone’s reputation is considered so loathsome that some of the Church Fathers have even likened it to being akin to murder. Watch something like Amityville Death House and you’ll understand what they mean (Oh, Eric Roberts, why?).
But anyway, back to Amityville Exorcism. The story is a simple one. Cursed lumber from the original Amityville house has been used to construct another residence, and it isn’t long before the young(ish) woman residing there becomes possessed by a demon dressed in red and develops a bad skin complexion. Fortunately, the somewhat frumpy Father Benna has been tracking down the cursed wood ever since his brother, also a priest, died while fighting the Amityville demon. The good father arrives just in the nick of time and, aided by the girl’s pickled paterfamilias, attempts an exorcism to drive off the evil Amityville spirit once and for all.
Now, it would be easy to criticize Amityville Exorcism for being cheap, poorly acted, and barely scripted. Easy, because it is all those things, in spades. For example, every ‘special’ effect in the film was obviously picked up at Party City, from the zombie makeup kit used to create the girl’s possessed look, to the red plastic masquerade mask worn by the demon. I looked it up. You can get both those items for $8.98 plus tax. Throw in another 20 bucks for the priest shirt and you’re ready to go.
Ultimately, though, such criticisms are futile. Director Mark Polonia has been churning out these kind of no-budget homemade films since the mid-80s, and everything in them that appalls the average movie viewer is exactly what Polonia’s long-time fans clamor for. If you count yourself among them, Amityville Exorcism is more of what you’ve crave. If you don’t, you’ve been warned.