Film Review: ‘My Amityville Horror’

Daniel Lutz opens up about a real-life (purported) haunting in "My Amityville Horror," out today. CREDIT: Lost Witness Pictures, LLC
Daniel Lutz opens up about a real-life (purported) haunting in “My Amityville Horror.”
CREDIT: Lost Witness Pictures, LLC

‘My Amityville Horror’
Director: Eric Walter
Rating: NR
2 Globes

One of the more undying lines on the Lutzes — the family who claimed their house in Amityville, Long Island, in 1975 was plagued by irksome and sometimes belligerent spirits — is that they made their story up to get out of a pricey mortgage and, of course, to make some cash. The existence of no less than 10 films in the “Amityville Horror” franchise (the most recent a DTV affair from 2011), plus some bestsellers of questionable veracity, doesn’t exactly challenge that theory.

For what it’s worth (which is to say: not much), the Lutzes have mostly stuck by their story. That includes Daniel Lutz, who was 9 at the time, and whose testimony is slightly harder to write off as mere calculation. In the doc “My Amityville Horror,” Daniel, who has remained mum for 35 years, opens up, insisting to the filmmakers that the story is more or less on the level. There’s no strong reason for Daniel, now in his forties, to keep up a charade: the events have left clear, visible trauma, and he talks about levitation, possession and other impossible feats with the chilling authority of someone who has experienced something catastrophic. Even if that something is not what he says.

Of course, he also talks about the psychological trauma instilled upon him by a stepfather, George Lutz, who whisked away his mother and his two younger siblings (who declined to talk in the film) only to turn into a tyrannical patriarch. It doesn’t take a psychologist to tell there’s something else going on in Daniel’s head, although even the psychologist whose interviews with Daniel are peppered through the film can’t make much headway. He’s a temperamental, emotional, evasive man, going on the defensive at the slightest perceived slight, insisting his traumatized mien as proof enough of the tall tales he spins.

Director Eric Walter is not, evidently, the man to get to the bottom of all this, but who is? Daniel Lutz provides an ethical dilemma: his stories of evil ghosts toying and harming him and his family are, to any rational person, pure hooey, but few would willingly say that to his face. But that’s all there is to “My Amityville Horror,” which settles on the notion that we most likely will never know what really happened to Daniel, but fails to tie that to a deeper human concern. It’s not, when you get down to it, all that more enlightening than 1983’s “Amityville 3-D.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Dogs are capable of feeling jealousy - U.S.…

By Curtis Skinner(Reuters) - Dogs are a man's best friend, and research released on Wednesday says canines want to keep it that way.Dogs are capable…

Local

G train riders brace for five-week shutdown

G train service will be suspended between Brooklyn and Queens between Friday, July 25, and Tuesday, Sept. 2.

International

Peaches Geldof's death was drugs-related, coroner rules

LONDON (Reuters) - The death of Peaches Geldof, the daughter of musician and Band Aid founder Bob Geldof, was drugs-related, a coroner ruled on Wednesday.The…

Local

Family, supporters gather in Brooklyn for Eric Garner…

Family members gathered on Wednesday for the funeral of Eric Garner, who died shortly after police put him in a banned chokehold as they arrested him.

Going Out

Where to go drinking on National Tequila Day…

Thursday is just close enough to the end of the week to make you envision yourself already sunning on a beach towel or lounging by…

Going Out

Things to do in NYC this week: July…

Performing arts A 70’s Summer Night Friday, 6:30 p.m. The Green Building 452 Union St., Gowanus $35, 347-529-6473 Party like it’s summer in the 1970s…

Going Out

5 must-try dishes at Edible Manhattan's Good Beer

Rooting out the exotic amid the New York City bar scene is noble quest. But if you’d like to have it all come to you,…

Books

Art imitates life (almost) in David Shapiro's new…

David Shapiro talks about his book, "You're Not Much Use To Anyone."

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

MLB

Brandon McCarthy finds his calling on Twitter

Yankees starter Brandon McCarthy joined Twitter three year ago for the same reason many people do: to get news quickly.

Sports

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running…

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running game a boost

Food

Recharge with a post-workout smoothie from Nicky Hilton

Some people can roll out of bed right as their alarm goes off. And that alarm isn’t set for 20 minutes before they have to…

Education

Colleges are increasingly embracing the concept of gender-neutral…

  Northwestern University recently made headlines after announcing that it would be installing two gender-neutral bathrooms in the university's student center. “These are two gender-open…

Career

How to prepare to interview for your dream…

    Congratulations! You landed a job interview at your dream company! A lot of hard work has gone into determining which companies to apply…

Style

The shirtdress is a summer must-have

  We love throwing on our boyfriend’s shirt and a pair of jeans (no matter how much he grumbles that it’s his turn to wear the…