Amityville: The Awakening

12/15/2017 07:42

Film: Amityville: The Awakening

Year: 2017

Director: Franck Khalfoun

Writer: Franck Kahlfoun

Starring: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bella Thorne and Mckenna Grace




This film begins filling us in on the DeFeo family and what happened with them at the Amityville house. The eldest son snapped and shot his family in the night with a shotgun. His defense was that he was possessed.


We then see a family moving into this house forty years later. The mother is played by Jennifer Jason Leigh. She has twin children, played by Bella Thorne and Cameron Monaghan. Monaghan is in a coma. There is also a younger daughter played by Mckenna Grace. We learn the reason is that Monaghan’s care costs a lot and they got a really good deal on the house. They are also doing it to be closer to Leigh’s sister, played by Jennifer Morrison.


Thorne has an attitude about the move. This causes her to bicker with her mother quite a bit. The house seems normal at first, except that Thorne has issues with a fly. It keeps bothering her.


She goes to the new school and she is kind of an outcast. Part of this is that she is new and the other part is that she dresses in black. She sits in front of Thomas Mann in class and he tries to befriend her. She is kind of rude to him. She notices some girls talking about her and Mann tells her that it isn’t her; it is the house that she lives in.


Thorne then learns about the murders that happened in their house. She confronts her mother about this and she reveals that she knew. That is why they got the house so cheap. We also learn that Thorne was very close to Monaghan. Thorne had sent pictures to a guy of her that ended up online. Monaghan went to confront the guy and ended up falling off a balcony, this put him into the state that he is in. He has been in this coma for 2 years. Thorne doesn’t think he will get better, but Leigh is not giving up hope.


The doctor for Monaghan is played by Kurtwood Smith. He comes over to check on him and performs a test. Morrison is for it, but she conveys that she only is because she wants Leigh to see he won’t get better. Smith does the test and it shows that he has regained some brain function. This has the opposite effect on Leigh. Smith is terrified when he sees a fly and a maggot. He tries to look at Monaghan’s back to see that it filled with both insects. They go into his mouth and he freaks out, only to see that it was all in his mind.


Mann introduces Thorne who his ‘girlfriend’, played by Taylor Spritler. He wants to watch the movie at Thorne’s place at exactly 3:15 am. This time is significant because that is when Thorne keeps waking up at night and the time that the murders happened. Thorne does relent and allows them to come over.


During the night, the power goes out and they go to fix the fuse. Leigh catches them and has a shotgun out. He scolds Thorne and has the friends leave.


Thorne discovers that the blood is still on her wall and just covered with wallpaper. She really starts to look into this and believes that room that is found in the original film is real. She thinks that her brother is possessed and that is why he keeps getting better.


Is she right? Is Monaghan getting better or is it something else taking over his body? Can Thorne convince her mother of what is going on here? Or does she know already?


I have to say that growing up; I was a big fan of the original film that started all of this. The older I have gotten and the more that I’ve seen it; it has lost some of its effect. I do really like the first sequel and some of the others are enjoyable, while others are just bad. With this film, I do like that this one has that the events of the original and the DeFeo family are real. It also incorporates flies, which is a big part of the original. The films also have been produced about it, but they are all fictional. I like that meta aspect of this film. It also incorporates that the house has been dormant since. I liked the idea that Monaghan’s body is being cured, because he is a helpless vessel that is being taken over. I also like that there is a subtle twist late in this film. It didn’t blow me away, but I found it interesting. The film and the ending are predictable. I still found this to be enjoyable though.


The acting was pretty good. Leigh was solid as the mother and her character has surprising depth. I liked that her husband died and that she is overcompensating with Monaghan. It is an interesting dynamic. I liked the angle that Thorne and Monaghan are also twins and that is how she knows he needs to be let go. I thought Thorne overall did a good job as well. They also had to take advantage of her in her underwear as well. Grace was good for being a child. Monaghan had an interesting role to play, in that most of the time he just had to look comatose. He has his moments as the film goes on though, much of it is facial and with his eyes. Mann also was a good touch with his film knowledge, which I love when you can incorporate.


The effects of the film were CGI. Most of it looked good, but at times I could tell. I’m not a huge fan of CGI, yet this film it doesn’t really hurt my rating. I thought the editing was good. It has a low running time and it never really lags at any point which is a perk for me. It does build tension to the climax. The climax didn’t give enough of a payoff unfortunately. The score of the film was okay. I noticed it at some points and others I didn’t. There never had an issue with it though, so that is at least a perk.


Now with that said, I would recommend this film if you are a fan of the series. This film has a different take on it, making the events of the Lutz and DeFeo to really have happened, but there was films made about what happened to them and the house. I thought incorporating this meta touch was interesting. The film has a good concept of it. There is a decent twist, but I felt the ending was predictable and that hurt it for me. I thought the acting was pretty good. The film is CGI heavy and I’m not a fan of it, but I’ve definitely seen worse. The editing was good, but the climax didn’t give the payoff to the tension that was building. The score was solid at times, but others I didn’t notice it. I can’t hold that against the film though. This is an above average haunted house film and one of the better sequels to the Amityville series.


My Rating: 6 out of 10