Amityville II: The Possession (1982) Review
AMITYVILLE II: THE POSSESSION
** ½ Out 5
Tagline- The Night of February 5, 1976′ George and Kathleen Lutz Fled Their Home in Amityville, New York. They Got Out Alive! Their Living Nightmare Shocked Audiences Around the World in “The Amityville Horror.” But Before Them, Another Family Lived in This House and Were Caught by the Original Evil. They Weren’t So Lucky. This is Their Story!
Release Date- September 24th, 1982
Running Time- 104-Minutes
Screenplay- Tommy Lee Wallace
Director- Damiano Damiani
Starring- James Olson, Burt Young, Rutayna Alda, Jack Magner, Diane Franklin
Released in 1982 Amityville II: The Possession is a prequel to the original and the basic premise for the story is the murders that took place in the house by Ronald DeFeo. However don’t go into Amityville II for a bio picture as it only takes the basic idea, but has enough difference to the actual story to be its own film with little connection to the DeFeo murders. The Amityville series in my opinion easily ranks as one of the worst horror franchises; as the series went on they seemed to get worse and worse and really by a certain point the title was used simply as a selling point as a good portion of the series the films don’t even take place in the house. Many fans consider Amityville as the best of the series, but I still go with the original even if that film isn’t exactly great. Amityville II is the best sequel, but that really isn’t saying much since again the franchise is rather dire. Amityville II gets off to a decent enough of start and was fairly good, but the film takes a nosedive and the 2nd half more or less becomes an Exorcist clone.
The Montelli family moves into a new house and not long after arriving Sonny (Magner) gets possessed and the voice tells him to murder his family. The family priest Father Adamsky (Olson) at first ignores the situation, but than begins to feel guilty and does whatever it takes to save Sonny’s soul.
Based off the novel Murder in Amityville by Hans Holzer, the screenplay by Tommy Lee Wallace starts off well enough with some decent family drama, but as the script goes on it becomes a poorly written mess. Even though the first half was the best written it wasn’t without its problems. The film suggests its the house causing the family problems, but even before they step foot into the house its established that Anthony is a abusive. Its clear early on the Montelli family is a bit dysfunctional so the scenes in which it makes it seem like the house is to blame really doesn’t make sense. If anything the house only escalated things. We also have an incest subplot, which was just odd. The incest starts after Sonny gets possessed but what’s Patricia’s excuse? But the very first scene with the two there is something sexual about their relationship and like the family drama, the script seems to suggest its the house and Sonny’s possession, but from the very beginning there is some sexual tension between Sonny and his sister so the blaming of the house as the script suggests doesn’t make much sense.
Director Damiano Damiani brings a nice European feel to the film early on and the first half of the film gets off to a good start with some nice atmosphere and an eerie tone, but as the film goes on it begins to become a sloppy mess devoid of any suspense or tension and feels like a totally different film with a totally different director. The pacing of the film is strong early on as again it does have an eerie tone, but the 2nd half besides lacking any thrills is a poorly paced mess. The strongest scene of the film is when Sonny kills his family as it has a somewhat of an unsettling time only brought down by the silly F/X of Sonny’s face showing his possessed. Overall its like two different directors made this film as the 1st half of the film and 2nd half are so different in tone. While the direction falls flat as a whole the first half of the film is worth viewing this film.
Overall Amityville II has its moments and I can see the appeal of the film. Like I said I enjoyed the first half of the film, but the 2nd half was very sluggishly paced and can at least for me be quite a chore to sit through. While the film doesn’t come highly recommend Amityville II does have its moments, just not nearly enough. Apparently some of the screenplay was rewritten by cult writer Dardano Sacchetti best known for his work with Lucio Fulci on such films as Zombi 2, City of the Living Dead and New York Ripper are just a few of his many credits.