Director: Henrique Couto
Cast: Stephen Arthur Alexander, Matt Brassfield, Joni Durian
Production Company: New Dynamic
Runtime: 78 minutes
Amityville: No Escape (2016) is from indie director Henrique Couto, who is also known for Alone in the Ghost House (2015). It’s a found footage movie that also crosses into the lore around Amityville, as The Amityville Haunting (2011) did a few years before. Other than that one detail, the two movies are actually quite a bit different from each other.
In this movie, a group of college students are working on a thesis project about fear. In their possession is a video tape made by one of the previous owners of the famous haunted house. They enter the deep woods around Amityville to make their documentary, and soon encounter exactly what they set out to find.
The film is a successful mix of found footage taken at the house in 1997, and documentary footage shot in the woods from 2016. The 1997 footage is in a standard aspect ratio, and looks like it was shot on video. The footage from 2016 is in widescreen format, and has a higher video quality. Switching back and forth between the two time periods is one of the most notable things about this movie.
The dynamic among the friends is very natural, which helps the events seem more real. The group is often in conflict, especially because of the attitude of their leader. George (Josh Miller) is a harsh judge of those around him, which may be due to his personal fear of failure.
Julia Gomez plays Lena in the found footage portion of the film. She is very sweet and vulnerable in this leading role. She reminds me a lot of Jessica Harper from Suspiria (1977) and Phantom of the Paradise (1974). Gomez even looks a little like Harper, though it was her acting that drove me to the comparison in the first place.
Some of the spookiest scenes in the movie involve objects in the house moving by themselves. These moments were accomplished with practical effects, which makes them all the more effective. It’s like watching a masterful magic trick, and then wondering how it was pulled off
The film has some interesting twists towards the end that I’ll leave you to discover on your own. You may also enjoy how this film effectively blends together some elements of The Amityville Horror (1979) with The Blair Witch Project (1999). You may want to think twice before ever taking a camera into the woods after this one…
– John Migliore
For more information on the film, check out the links below…