I guess I don’t want to live in Long Island. Not only does the four-county island serve as home to the infamous Amityville Murders and supposed haunting, but it also contains one of the most haunted roads in America – Mt. Misery Road. Ghosts and goblins, mothmen, hell hounds, deranged patients that escaped a burnt down insane asylum. The list goes on and on, and yup, I don’t foresee myself driving down Mt. Misery Road late at night. But you know who did? Chuck and Karolina Morrongiello, two debuting actors and film-makers who took a video camera, $2,500 of their own money and ventured into the woods to create the movie that would soon become Amityville: Mt. Misery Road. The new horror title is now available in Walmart stores nationwide courtesy of ITN Distribution, and you can also find it on select digital outlets including Amazon and Tubi. Part narrative film, part found footage feature, Amityville: Mt. Misery Road follows Charlie (Chuck) and Buzi (Karolina), two ghost enthusiasts fascinated with the urban legends surrounding the infamous road. Despite warnings from local citizens encouraging them to turn around on their adventure, the couple travels to Mt. Misery Road and its surrounding woods. As night falls, they learn that they’re trapped in a revolving whirlpool of paranormal activity and the evil beings lurking on Mt. Misery Road are far more than myths. They are deadly and real! Based on true events, Amityville: Mt. Misery Road also stars Curtis Wyka, Lloyd Goldstein and Joey Laspina.
Amityville: Mt. Misery Road is a true independent film-maker’s dream. A shoe-string budget, minimal equipment, an even smaller band of actors, and the desire to make a mark in the film industry. Honestly, I’m genuinely happy for Chuck and Karolina Morrongiello, because they poured their love for movie-making into this business venture and were rewarded with a distribution deal from ITN. It can’t get any better than that, and the feeling of pride they must have for their movie – it’s just an awesome and inspiring success story. It’s also a testament to their desire to learn and grow as actors and media creators, as the real life duo took on every responsibility here; from acting, to writing, directing, producing, cinematography, editing and every job in between. And they’ll only be better for it the next time they decide to shoot a feature, which I hope they do soon. Chuck grew up around Amityville, New York and honed his story to include all the best parts that the urban legend has to offer. I can see how casual shoppers may purchase this title thinking it has something to do with the Amityville Horror saga, but I still think they’d walk away from their viewing with some level of enjoyment even though the infamous mansion does not appear. The addition of a nice, red sports car and an early 2000’s straight-to-DVD feel and I was already suckered into Amityville: Mt. Misery Road from the very beginning. I can’t pinpoint a whole lot of criticisms in regards to this movie, but I do have two that I’d like to voice.
First, too much time is spent talking about the road and its gory, scary history, and not enough time is actually spent experiencing the road in person. Instead, the story focuses more on the relationship between Charlie and Buzi while they encounter new legends and monsters that lurk there through research and witness testimony. If my timer was correct, it took Charlie and Buzi until the 40 minute mark to arrive on Mt. Misery Road and that’s just too long to keep gratification away from the audience. We need something more. Second, there’s a whole lot of b-roll footage that could have been edited out of the final cut. As much as I liked the sports car, for example, I didn’t need three minutes of it driving down the road. As spooky as the woods looked on screen, I didn’t need shots of every single tree. Shaving a couple minutes of unnecessary minutes off of Amityville: Mt. Misery Road would have greatly increased its overall allure and viewing experience. With all the wasted time, I’m guilty of hitting the fast forward button once or twice; hoping that I’d finally stumble across the scary parts. Because of this, Amityville: Mt. Misery Road reads like a really long episode of “Ghost Hunters” and “Ghost Adventures.” This is also a double-sided sword because I loved how it almost felt like a historical documentary more than a horror film. There was so much information, stories and pictures, and supposed eye witness stories that, if all of this is true, paints a truly terrifying picture of the road you want to avoid the most in The United States.
Amityville: Mt. Misery Road isn’t bad, especially in the realm of independent found footage movies. It’s got a nice combination of The Blair Witch Project and The Mothman Prophecies, with equal amounts of Urban Legend and 80’s horror flicks. The acting isn’t terrible and the picture is the right quality for the film’s budget. The last twenty minutes are pretty creepy, the story of the road itself is enticing, and I’m happy with the final product made on a pipe-dream. Chuck and Karolina produced a horror film that doesn’t need to rely on gore and jump scares, and although it’s tame with its material, it paints a very different picture of Long Island than the one we’re used to. Well done, guys. Final Score: 6.5 out of 10.