Friday, August 12, 2022

Amityville 1992: It’s About Time


Amityville 1992: It’s About Time
Tony Randel

This movie has virtually nothing to do with the Amityville Horror series but that’s probably not a surprise at this point. There are a flood of films with Amityville in the title now because you can’t copyright a village and/or a house style. Amityville 1992 was doing it before it was cool (it was never cool). You could safely cut out one shot and a small section of dialogue and sever all connection to that film series, but if it managed to get a few extra viewers to rent this movie so be it. 

It's a surprisingly fun little film.

Jacob Sterling (Stephen Macht) is a well-regarded architect who brings home a clock from the notorious Amityville house. The clock is, of course, very haunted and soon the house and Jacob are as well. Only his son Rusty (Damon Martin) realizes something is up but who’s going to believe him?  The only other person who seems to understand is local weirdo, Iris Wheeler (Nita Talbot).


Frog House 1992

Amityville 1992: It’s About Time manages to craft an uncanny atmosphere by giving us some very atypical haunted house and demonic possession elements. I really enjoyed how the haunted clock physically infiltrated the space and began to alter the house. A less interesting film wouldn’t have demon clock extending secret drills to literally enmesh itself into the physical environment. The demon possession comes via dog bit of all things, and it too is a physical intrusion of supernatural elements. These two possessions mirror each other as the story continues.

It is pretty obvious that Amityville 1992 is not a large budget production, but the money is well used. Most of the film takes place in the house and in a turn away from the typical spooky decrepit mansion or idyllic middle-class home, the house in the movie is a nightmare on its own. It’s filled with clashing ugly patterns and colors. The layout is strange. The house feels wrong even without the haunted clock causing problems.


"Hurry, I need to be on the Even Horizon."

Another welcome element was the use of comedy in what is a dour series of films. Amityville 1992 cultivates some absurd kills and moments but uses them to build on the uncanny atmosphere almost as much as they threaten to break any suspense. It is yet another odd ingredient in an odd film. I can only guess what someone who rented this looking for some demon shenanigans and instead got a woman killed by a robot bird on top of an ice cream truck.

Direct to video sequels more often than not disappoint so it is exciting to find one that tries to bring something new to the formula and carves out its own identity in the process. Amityville 1992: It’s About Time is kooky little haunted house movie that manages to be more weird than scary but honestly the Amityville films needed more weird (or a least before Amityville went to space or fought a shark or whatever the heck is going on with these films today.)

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