Having been to the real Amityville Horror House in New York, it’s safe to say that I may have a small infatuation with America’s most haunted house. Despite this infatuation, I’ve never seen any of the sequels past Amityville 3D: The Demon (1983) except for the remake in 2005. The Amityville Playhouse is the most recent sequel, hitting retailers in America this past April, and it was my first look at what filmmakers had to add on to the 1970s phenomenon in the 2010s. Well, I can tell you… The Amityville Playhouse didn’t add anything at all. In all honesty it was a huge let down and a waste of a $3.99 Amazon Instant Video stream.
The Amityville Playhouse is written and directed by John R. Walker with Steve Hardy. Cast members include Monele LeStrat, Linden Baker, Kennie Benoit, Hollie Anne Kornik, Eva Kwok, Logan Russell, Gary Martin (Living Doll, Slaughter High), Ania Marson and Spencer Banks.
“Following the tragic death of her parents, Fawn Harriman had counted herself lucky the day she inherited a disused playhouse in the small town of Amityville. With her sights set on a new life in the playhouse, she invites a group of friends to join her there for a weekend adventure that will ultimately lead them into the terrifying clutches of an ancient pact between the myserious locals and a malignant presence from the very bowels of hell. As the stranglehold of evil grows ever tighter, Fawn’s teacher races to Amityville in a desperate attempt to rescue the imperilled party, and put an end to the town’s terrifying legacy once and for all.”
Let me get something straight right off the bat… The Amityville Playhouse has little to nothing to do with the events surrounding The Amityville Horror besides both movies being set in Amityville, New York and there being ghosts lurking around. When it comes to anything dealing with Amityville, there is a profound legacy and respect for the story – which is still heavily debated to this day – and none of that infamy translated over to The Amityville Playhouse. It’s almost as if the creators purchased the rights to the franchise, created their own original script and then erased the name of the town and replaced it with Amityville, New York to get more eyes on the product. Just because all the tell-all signs of like-minded spirits are plaguing the small group of friends – swarms of flies, strange occurrences, misplaced aggression and waking up around 3:15 – doesn’t mean you have a direct sequel and even a minimal reason to relate your movie to one of the biggest cult classics of all time.
Who knows, though, maybe there was more to The Amityville Playhouse that linked it to The Amityville Horror and its other eleven sequels except for the paper thin aspects I listed above. I’ll never really know the answer because I zoned out midway through this snoozer and ended up shutting it off all together with twenty minutes still left on the run time. When I first saw that the movie takes place in an old theater, I was kind of invigorated to see it because, well, old movie theaters can be creepy in the dark. Even with such a great location in tow, the filmmakers were not able to squeeze an ounce of suspense or fright into their product and the level of intensity never rises above the lowest setting. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t involved. I wasn’t interested. Sure, the special effects were adequate and the lighting was pretty good, but all other technical aspects were lacking, especially the audio that sounded like they were in a fishbowl the whole time. Apparently The Amityville Playhouse was produced for $224,000 British Pounds and that’s a respectable enough budget for there not to be so many production errors.
And, that’s really the best part. The Amityville Playhouse takes place in New York yet half of the cast has British accents and scenes were definitely shot outside The United States. Specifically, IMDB lists this title as being shot in Canada and The UK. Nothing against our brothers and sisters from other nations, but it’s kind of laughable that someone actually thought British actors in England could pass as New Yorkers in America. Sure, it’s done extremely well on shows like “The Walking Dead,” but the caliber of acting here is far, far below that of the hit zombie show. The lead character, Fawn, is particularly horrible. I know her parents are dead, but every line of dialogue is spoken so monotone, so slow, so sad… The whole movie I wish she’d put a ghost gun to her head and end it all already. The rest of the cast were either over-acting or under-acting and none of them had too much talent or experience behind them hence why this was the only movie they’ve ever done.
Usually, I try to find something to praise a movie about, especially in the world of independent cinema. However, The Amityville Playhouse has nothing for me to champion. As an Amityville Horror sequel, this shouldn’t exist. This has no reason to exist. And it’s not worth seeing. Only points I’m giving here is for the production team’s minimal efforts. FINAL SCORE: 3 out of 10