[Documentary Review] AMITYVILLE HORROR HOUSE
Courtesy of discovery+
While there are some people these documentaries will not appeal to, there is a fascination with famous crimes. When those crimes are shrouded in claims of demonic presences that interest is amplified. A new audience will learn about the story of the Amityville house and what occurred for two families who resided there, and even viewers who already know some of the story, will also learn more.

The AMITYVILLE HORROR HOUSE special covers the murders of the DeFeo parents and children at the hands of their son, Ronald DeFeo Jr. then moves into the terrifying, otherworldly experiences of the second family to move in—the Lutz family. This doc could be the definitive doc to date that covers Amityville. As newer generations come up who may not know the real-life story of Amityville, their only point of reference may be the brief scene of The Conjuring 2, and horror movies are typically unreliable as they often give additional nonfactual events to increase suspense and dread. 

The documentary also discusses the accusations that the Lutz family made it up in a cash grab to make money. The special moves between video footage of the home to both video and audio interviews with the Lutz parents as well as DeFeo Jr, with paranormal investigators adding their expertise. There are some questionable and uncomfortable parts, like images of the bloodstained beds, as well as discussion of the Lutz’s abuse of their children. 

The documentary attempts to draw a line that whatever evil resides in that house caused this abuse to occur. While that is perhaps possible, many parents are abusive without the help of a demonic presence. People can be tense, stressed and abusive without demons hiding in the shadows; however, if you believe the story of what occurred then this may not be as uncomfortable. 

Fans of The Conjuring series, particularly Ed & Lorraine Warren will also be pleased to know they—the real-life Ed & Lorraine Warren, not Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson—are in this documentary. Fans of the paranormal will also recognize Jason Hawes from paranormal investigative series, Ghost Hunters. The documentary will likely appeal to fans of documentaries/history, Warren fans, horror movies—Conjuring universe—fans, and paranormal investigative series fans. It brings back memories of series like Unsolved Mysteries, Haunted History, and Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction and that’s never a bad thing. 

While some may want the story of Amityville to be laid to rest, there are also those who feel too much surrounding the murders makes no sense. Particularly the fact that no one heard the gunshots—not neighbors or the DeFeo family—still baffles investigators. Of course, we are never going to get a definitive answer. Was Ronald DeFeo solely responsible for the brutal murder of his family that night? Did something sinister and demonic take over and ensure he would succeed? Watch the documentary and decide for yourself. 

AMITYVILLE HORROR HOUSE launches Monday, January 4, 2021 on discovery+.

 

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