The alleged demonic possession of the Lutz family and its suburban New England manse circa 1975 doesn’t lack for fascination, having inspired over the years a feature film, a prequel, a 3D entry, a TV movie, two direct-to-video sequels and now Eric Walter’s “My Amityville Horror,” a documentary itself possessed by the haunting Daniel Lutz, who was 11 when the news broke and is still spooked decades later. Currently scaring up receipts via VOD and limited theatrical, this docu plays like an extended episode of “Unsolved Mysteries,” deficient as it is in stylistic zeal, investigative spirit and plain old scares.
Where Walter’s film succeeds is in rendering Lutz, onscreen throughout, as an indelibly prickly and unsettling figure, a textbook trauma victim oozing tough-guy rage like a gangster in “The Departed.” Lutz’s reaction to the question of whether he’d ever take a test of his paranormal veracity nearly qualifies as horror. That the family’s claims of in-home levitations, hordes of flies and black toilets were issued a year after “The Exorcist” opened wide isn’t mentioned, although an interviewed shrink allows that Lutz’s memories are “soaked in suggestion.” Tech credits aren’t supernatural.
(Documentary) Reviewed on VOD (HD), Minneapolis, Minn., March 15, 2013. Running time: 89 MIN.
An IFC Midnights release of a Film Regions International presentation of a Lost Witness Pictures production. Produced by Andrea Adams, John R. Blythe, Eric Walter. Executive producers, Ronald Puleio, Michael S. Russo. Co-producers, Rebecca Breithaupt, Laura Didio, Christine Irons.
Directed by Eric Walter. Camera (color, HD), Charlie Anderson; editor, Walter; music, Herman Witkam; sound, Travis Groves; re-recording mixers, Ronnie Van Der Veer, Wim Post; associate producers, Matthew Lacurts, Michelle Paster.
With: Daniel Lutz, Lorraine Warren, Bobby Sylvester, Elizabeth Loftus, Susan S. Bartell, Laura Didio, Joel Martin, Marvin Scott, Neme Alperstein, Ben Foti.