Review: Shawn C. Phillips’ AMITYVILLE KAREN

Just… Why? That’s my question after watching AMITYVILLE KAREN. The independent production, not in any way related to the original Amityville series, comes from two people with a long resume in horror – director Shawn C. Phillips and writer Julie Ann Prescott. With that in mind, I can’t imagine how and/or why they created this bomb and said “yeah, this is great.” It’s a polished turd and I expected so much better from this team, especially considering Shawn’s knack for comedy and Julie’s understanding of atmospheric horror. Maybe it’s because AMITYVILLE KAREN was shot in just 5 days, if imdb is to be trusted, and they just weren’t able to produce anything resembling a good movie.

AMITYVILLE KAREN takes place in the fabled town, apparently, and certainly not in the haunted house that the nation became obsessed with. Or it takes place in California, if the palm trees and architecture is a giveaway. Honestly, half a dozen films come out every year that “take place in Amityville,” and I’ve never understood the point about trying to make the entire town a Sunnydale Hellmouth. I think it’s scarier to have this one, big house with so many evils inside. Anyway, the neighborhood Karen, played by Lauren Franscesca, is an overall terrible human being, kind of racist, a complainer and definitely needs to be in a ring with Amanda Nunez for 5 minutes. When she steals a cursed bottle of wine from an independent brewery, she inadvertently brings murder and mayhem into her home.

James Duval, Kyle Clarington, Caleb Thomas and Jennifer Nangle are also featured. Ron Bonk, Mem Ferda and Shawn C. Phillips produced.

I think that, had this crew had the ability to slow down, they could have recouped some quality. The whole thing is incredibly cringy and AMITYVILLE KAREN had the ability to be a worthwhile horror-comedy. The acting is off, the pace is very slow, the production quality isn’t always the best and the special effects look like I could have done them with barely any experience. It isn’t very often that I completely rip a movie to shreds, but AMITYVILLE KAREN has absolutely zero redeeming qualities. Dare I say it – it should never have been made in the first place if this was going to be the final product. And who said “oh my god, this is so good, I should distribute it!” It’s a giant miss and, given that it’s available to stream on demand, I highly recommend skipping it and not wasting your $3.99 like I did. Man! What a letdown.

Final Score: 3 out of 10. The only reasons it’s even getting this score is because of the promo poster above, the effort it takes to complete a feature film and because it had the potential to be so much better.

Michael DeFellipo

(Senior Editor)

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