TADFF 2012 – My Amityville Horror

by: Martin Kessler

My Amityville Horror (2012) – Eric Walter

Eviction was the short that played. It was single take movie about a priest who fastens himself to a chair and attempts to exorcise a demon from himself. It might have really been effective with an actor with wider range and had it avoided some of the usual exorcist movie tropes.

My Amityville Horror is a documentary about Daniel Lutz who briefly lived in the famed Amityville House. Before too long it becomes clear that Daniel Lutz is struggling with deep emotional and psychological issues.

One of the most interesting aspects of My Amityville Horror is how the film tries to find a rational explanation for Daniel’s experience in the house, all while remaining respectful to his assertion that he experienced supernatural phenomenon.  It is clear that while being sceptical of the supernatural, the filmmakers are fairly convinced in Daniel Lutz’s sincerity.

It raises the possibility that the events in the Amityville house described by Daniel might be the product of the psychological damage inflicted by an overbearing step-father’s belief in the paranormal. The film goes into depth discussing the malleable nature of human memory, and how an impressionable ten year old boy like Daniel might have been in being convinced of a paranormal presence.

The film ends with the filmmaker asking Daniel a simple question, but Daniel’s answer is anything but straightforward and really seems to summarize the complexities what happened in the Amityville house, where fact and truth seem to have predominantly diverged.

My Amityvlle Horror has a very cinematic look to it, and feels like a traditional documentary. It avoids sensationalizing any aspect of the story and brings the gravitas of a serious examination to the story. It is a very well constructed and excellent film, but I doubt that it will appeal to all but the most fascinated with the Amityville House, with its  focus on Daniel’s character as opposed to the supposed supernatural phenomenon associated with the house.

The somewhat depressing nature of the subject matter make it a difficult film to easily recommend, but I really do hope people watch this fascinating documentary on the relationship between the human mind and perceived supernatural forces and how it affected one particular person.

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