Movie Reviews 108 – Amityville 3-D (1983)

Amityville 3DSome people forget that 3D movies have actually been around for a long time (albeit with much inferior 3D technology compared to today) and that every few years it rears its ugly head and we see a spate of 3D movies coming to theaters. Back in the day a good source of fodder to feed the 3D beast was the third movie in a series, and in 1983 The Amityville Horror saga was the next victim on the 3D gravy train.

In this third installment of the franchise, simply entitled Amityville 3-D, we find newly separated magazine writer John Baxter (Tony Roberts) buying out the Amityville house for a steal after doing an expose on an old couple who were renting the place and putting on sham seances. But instead of him stumbling upon any spooks in the house, it’s his work colleague photographer and good friend Melanie who gets the first treatment. First she notices splotched faces in photos of the house seller who soon dies. But she gets the full haunt treatment while waiting for Baxter in the house one evening swears to never dare to enter it again. She later tries to return but it appears the evil in the house has extended reach and forces Melanie to have a gruesome accident in her car.

When John`s ex finds out which house he bought, she tells their daughter Susan (Lori Loughlin) that she is no longer allowed to visit her dad there. But Susan, being the typical teenager, scoffs at the notion and it isn’t long before she is coerced by her friend (played by a young Meg Ryan) who happens to be fascinated by the house’s history that she simply has to visit. The girls bring along two boys and after an ad hoc session with a homemade Ouija board, they all go out for a speedboat joyride. Susan’s mother gets concerned for her daughter and suspecting she has gone to the house in defiance of her orders, goes there herself. After a short time there she meets Susan who is slopping wet going into her room. But outside the boat with the kids has just come to the dock bearing a lifeless Susan who has had some sort drowning accident.

Despondent and unwilling to face the truth, Susan’s mother cannot believe her daughter is dead and insists she had gone into the house. This all leads to yet another seance session and a final confrontation with the evil seething out of a basement water well that one must supposed leads straight to hell.

I’ve never been a fan of Tony Roberts but even his deadpan acting rises above most of the rest of the cast here. Meg Ryan’s part is miniscule so most of the heavy work falls onto Lori. But the real problem here is a clear lack of any decent story. Melanie’s death is one of the few really good scares we get and I soon found myself looking out for all the staged ‘coming at you’ projectiles that were obviously included for 3D theatrics. Even seeing the house blown up at the end was unfulfilling since they’re still putting out new Amityville movies to this day.

Oh, and remember how I told you how Hollywood goes gaga over 3D every few years and starts churning them out again? Well we’re smack dab in the middle of another cycle and since they’ve also started churning out a new ’remake’ series of Amityville movies, you may not be that surprised that another Amityville 3-D is in the early stages of planning. Lets hope it’s better than this one.

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