Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My Amityville Horror (2012)

Most people are familiar with the Amityville Horror.   The Lutz family get a great deal on a beautiful house. What the parents don't tell the children until they are moving in, is that the house was the scene of a mass murder by Ronald DeFeo who killed his parents and four siblings.  Creepy enough without the Lutz's purchase including the furnishings of the dead family. Soon all hell breaks loose and the family is harassed by spirits, suffer from possession, and flee the house - all within a month of purchasing it.

Daniel Lutz, the oldest child, has never publicly spoken about what happened in the house.  The psychological wounds weigh heavy on him, and he wants to try to get closure to an experience that has dogged him his entire life.  While some may question his motives, it could be as simple as wanting to move on with his life and not let a one month period when he was ten define his life any longer than it has.

If you're expecting new details on the haunting, you'll probably be disappointed. This is a character study of a man scarred by his childhood.  While telling his story, it's obvious that Daniel has a chip on his shoulder.  Who could blame him since it's the type of story that people won't believe.   Whether you believe the haunting or not, everyone has different reactions to trauma - some block it out and others relive it if they talk about it.

Even if there was no haunting, Daniel was still traumatized by his childhood. After his parents divorce, he took on responsibility of taking care of his mother and younger siblings.  This is not only a lot of pressure for a kid, but would probably lead him to resent anyone who takes his place as the protector of the family.

Daniel is a very angry man and was a troubled child, skipping school and fighting with his stepfather, George Lutz, who he hated.  In fact, he still spews hate towards the man he states had no parenting abilities whatsoever.  If his recollections of George are accurate, then George was a terrible father.  When the filmmakers and Daniel visit noted paranormal researcher Lorraine Warren, who consulted on the house in the 1970s,, her comments seem to confirm that George was a tool.

At the time of the hauntings, David was about ten years old. It would be easy for a parent to fabricate a haunting and convince a ten year old it's real.  So the question is whether the hauntings were real, were made up by the parents, are the continuation of a con by the family, or are a coping mechanism to try to deal with some sort of childhood trauma.  It's all speculation as to which you want to believe.

Although there are glimpses of humor in him and you really feel bad for the emotional scars he obviously carries - more for the family dynamic than the haunting - when Daniel stares right into the camera and his eyes go cold, he's one scary dude.  I would not want to make this guy mad because I get the feeling he's not going to take any crap from anyone.  Geez, the kid left home around fourteen years old and lived in the desert.

If I have a complaint about the film, it's that there is a clip used at the beginning where a woman states the house was never haunted and it was all a scam for money.  Who was that? The woman resembled Kathy Lutz - was it her? If so, what was that clip from?  Did Kathy Lutz confess to fraud, or was that someone else?  It would be easy enough for parents to convince a ten year old and younger siblings that their house was haunted.  I just wish there were more information regarding who that woman was in the clip, and if it was Kathy, why she was admitting this.

Whatever the truth, hopefully being able to tell his story will bring some peace to Daniel Lutz.

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