Amityville 3-D Review


Hitting theatres a year after the first sequel, the creative juices having flowed their way into non-existence, executive producer Dino De Laurentiis was far too willing to probe the franchise for a few more dollars, deciding that the only way to make reconstituted plot pulp and character cliché appealing was to add the element of 3-D into its cinematography. Amityville 3-D suffers because too much care and attention has been taken into the marketing of a film based on the recognition of the superior original film and the legacy, both real life and imagined, of the fire-starting event. What does this film have to do with the franchise story – nothing, apart from the fact it is set in ‘the’ house. What does this film have to offer us – nothing, apart from random objects oddly moving out of the screen.

When writer John Baxter uncovers a secretive plot to make money out of the Amityville house through fake séances, the house becomes vacant and he unfortunately decides it’s a good idea to move in. When strange goings-on and deaths start to occur, Baxter at first dismisses them as simply coincidence, but after his daughter is killed, his distraught ex-wife convinces him to bring in paranormal investigators to experiment on the house.

It’s easy to realise that Amityville 3-D is a bad film when two of its more enjoyable parts are straight lifts from other better and more prominent horror films. I found the photos of the real estate agent looking strangely disfigured quite unsettling, but it stinks of a better technique utilised in the The Omen where the photos depicted markings that related to that person’s own demise. I also felt that the film had too much in common with The Omen’s own sequel Damien: Omen II made in 1978, in the way that it just had characters dying in obscure ways only very loosely related to the origins of the house. Essentially, it’s lazy plotting on the filmmakers part and gets even worse by the film’s end, when ultimately, all we are watching is a rehash of Poltergeist.

Director Richard Fleisher actually does a decent job with what he is given, keeping the pace moving at a hefty rate and getting the actors screaming at just the right moments, but it’s all ‘cat jumping out of the cupboard’ stuff and every shock is as laughable as the fake flies on fishing rods the actors have to bat away. By the end of the film everyone involved looks as bored as the audience and if the film ever actually reached any heights, by the last thirty minutes it has cleaned out the very bottom of the cinematic barrel. If there are any redeeming features to found in Amityville 3-D it would be Tess Harper’s frightened mother intent on getting to the root of the paranormal activity, and seeing a young Meg Ryan in one of her earliest film roles. Amityville 3-D is a poor film, and it’s a shame it taints what could have been a good little trilogy of haunted house movies.


The image is presented in the film’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and anamorphic enhanced. The picture is good but perhaps due to the 3-D effects put on the original negative, at times it looks a little less sharp than it should do. The major problem with this release is that it doesn’t feature the 3-D effects rendered so that through 3-D glasses they appear three-dimensional. Whether or not viewers would want to watch with 3-D glasses is irrelevant, as the 3-D sections of the film are obvious, obtrusive and annoying. The fact the whole 3-D gimmick was quite quickly dismissed is evidence of the flawed technique in mainstream cinema and it’s just detrimental to the film in this case.

NOTE: There is also a pan and scan 4:3 version of the film on the reverse side of the disc.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is adequate but very front orientated and I wasn’t very impressed with the level of bass. Dialogue is fairly clear, but the soundtrack is plagued by a slight hiss that sounds like it was recorded on vinyl and is being replayed from that record.

Theatrical Trailer - Only the theatrical trailer is added to this disk.


By the time the purple blobs start floating about the place towards the end of Amityville 3-D you’ll be convinced you’re witnessing one of the worst horror films you’ve ever seen. The disk is adequate but hardly worth recommending as a separate buy. This DVD is only worth having in the Amityville Horror Collection box set, not as a film to be watched, but as a DVD to fill up the box.

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Last updated: 19/04/2018 09:13:45

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