[RM intern Vanessa Furtado offers her thoughts on Toronto After Dark selection My Amityville Horror.]
My Amityville Horror (U.S.A)
Starring Daniel Lutz, Laura DiDio and Neme Alperstein
Directed by Eric Walter
Written by Eric Walter
Given our ongoing fascination with the Amityville tragedies and the controversies surrounding them, it’s not surprising how many documentaries have tackled the subject. My Amityville Horror attempts to give us a fresh look through the eyes of someone who experienced those events directly. Daniel Lutz, oldest son of George and Kathy Lutz, whose experiences inspired the controversial book The Amityville Horror and ten feature films, finally speaks out after almost 40 years of silence about what he saw and experienced in the house during the 28 days he and his family lived there. This documentary shadows Danny as he revisits those memories and returns to the location where these disturbing events took place.
What we hear from Danny is certainly unsettling, but it’s also questionable. As the film focuses on Danny’s family problems and his very strained relationship with his stepfather (who died in 2006), you start to question Lutz’s sanity – or, at least, his reliability. From story to story there are slight changes and fabrications that feel a little too rehearsed and create a tension between Danny and the people he speaks to, including a psychologist and a reporter who also find themselves questioning the events he describes.
While trying to take a new look at the infamous Lutz haunting, My Amityville Horror did not offer evidence or information that hasn’t already been provided in the past. It was disappointing to have such an interesting topic be turned into a documentary about a failed father-son relationship. There are no strong facts or stories to keep the viewer captivated, or to turn skeptics into believers.