Synopsis: Amityville Poltergeist sees Jim (Parris Bates) agree to house-sit for Eunice (Rebecca Kimble). But there’s something very wrong with the house. Soon, it becomes clear that the strange goings on will have a long-lasting and irreversible impact on him . . .
An Amityville Poltergeist uses many established horror tropes. Furthermore, it uses some of them really well. The non-linear aspect of the film creates a jarring, unsettled feeling. The end is at the beginning, and then you get to see what has happened to Jim (Parris Bates) His gradual descent into total fear builds slowly, and that aspect works really well. Also, the backstory of the character is good writing. When you see Jim with Alyson (Sydney Winbush) you really get a feeling of who the main character is, which allows you to buy in, and root for him, too. A simple story, that’s written and told well and with a sense, at times, of real tension and vital creepiness.
Parris Bates does a great job of depicting terror, and a real sense that he’s losing a hold on reality. His role in An Amityville Poltergeist isn’t an easy one, especially for a young actor so pull it off. So, he deserves credit. As well as portraying mental torment, Bates also handles Jim’s emotional state really well. In particular scenes with Sydney Winbush, like Alyson, have a real sense of depth to them.
Rebecca Kimble manages to bring good presence to her scenes, which matters, as her character, Eunice, isn’t in many of the scenes. But those that she’s in she elevates, and does a good job of portraying her own journey of madness, from living in the house so long.
CGI & Effects
Some of the “evil being” shots in An Amityville Poltergeist were a little tired, but they still did a good job of looking scary. The movements of the ghost going up the stairs were well done and used the camera to good effect. Mostly, the creativity of the film’s scary bits was strongest and helped to ground things in a sense of reality. The pace of the effects helped to create tension and fear.
For a film that didn’t have a huge budget, An Amityville Poltergeist did offer an impressive take on the genre. The film’s psychological edge helped to raise the standard, so it went beyond being just a silly caper. It’s clear that the main writer and Director, Calvin Morie McCarthy had a vision, and realised it well. Compared to other horror offerings, that have a much bigger budget and bigger names, this film stands up and holds its own. The film’s strength is that it understands and delivers what fans of modern horror want to see.
Amityville Poltergeist will be out on Tuesday 18 May across most Streaming Services.
- CGI & Effects8.1
- Incidental Music8.5