Amityville: The Evil Escapes

Starring: Patty Duke, Frederic Lehne, Lou Hancock and Aron Eisenberg
Fremantle Home Entertainment

RRP: 12.99
Certificate: 18
Available 17 October 2005

A group of priests (what is the collective word for clergymen?) perform a multiple exorcism in the infamous Amityville House. The next day one of them declares that the evil presence has gone. In a lawn sale of the furniture a woman buys an ugly sculptured lamp stand with a globe shade and sends it to her sister. At the same time her sister's daughter and three children arrive to stay. Immediately the pet bird and cat react violently to the lamp. A young priest who saw the entity transmigrate into the lamp, comes out of hospital desperate to trace the lamp's new owner, but his mission to save lives is hampered by distance and supernatural threats...

As with some of The Exorcist films, this is another example of hanging-in with the original franchise-creating movie instead of telling its own tale. The Evil Escapes is a good lesson in how not to make a horror flick. You get the sense that someone with no knowledge of the horror genre and how to shock and frighten people has arrived in town declaring, "I can do that!"

There is no sense of timing and so no effective impacts. The film begins with the evil entity rebelling against the exorcisms. There is no build-up of suspense or tension before the furniture starts shaking and black gunge pours from the walls. The only reaction it induced in me was a yawn. There are no real special effects on offer, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but who on Earth is going to be scared by a lamp that glows orange?! It might make you feel cosy (or think of a Pelican Crossing), but I'm certain that wasn't the desired effect.

The plot (what there is of it) and the dialogue are pretty cringeworthy. The priest has to get permission from the Monsignor to travel to save a family! Is that supposed to be a character's story conflict? Surely, if it was that important to you, wouldn't you just go? The youngest daughter is possessed by the evil, but when she is reclaimed her words are: "Mummy, I had a bad dream." At that point I demanded to know why the ground hadn't opened up to swallow me. Matters weren't helped when the family cat attained superimposed red eyes. Dear me, if you're going to make a horror film learn your trade first.

There's a possibility this might appeal to mainstream viewers not familiar with horror, but fans of the genre should find buying a beer mat more useful.

Ty Power

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