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The Amityville Horror (1979)



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The Amityville Horror is not a great horror film, but it does have moments of genuine creepiness, and the psychological pressures it gradually inflicts on its characters are uncomfortably tangible. It does have faults: the middle act overstays its welcome, and the film's mythology is too mystical for me. And then there's the all-important question of why this family stays living in this house as long as they do. If I'd been living there and I had stuck it out long enough to find the door to hell in my cellar, you can bet I wouldn't have stayed any longer than that.

But the film basically delivers what it promises. I particularly liked the opening scene, which juxtaposes thunder and lightning outside the house with something altogether different within. I was happy with the end, too, which is appropriately climactic without escalating things to absurd extremes, as many horror films do just before crumbling under their own weight.

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