Amityville Emanuelle (2023)

I worry about AI a lot, because you know, I work as a writer in my non-constantly watching movies and writing about them time. I’ve been in this field for twenty-five years or more — this gets relevant for this movie as well, I promise — and I feel like I’ve been fighting Skynet since 1984 and now I’m being asked to embrace it.

This is all being confided in you, dear reader, because I feel like Amityville Emanuelle has been concocted by that very same AI that I’ve been asked to use for my work and not director Louis DeStefano (who also plays Detective James and is directing his first movie) and Geno McGahee (producer of Call Me EmanuelleThe Awakening of Emanuelle and the writer and producer of Amityville Cop and the writer, director and producer of Amityville: The Final Chapter, which was originally known as Sickle).

How else can we explain a movie that has Amityville, a spirit board and namechecks the character invented by Emmanuelle Arsan that has become a brand in itself, remixed remade and ripped off into so many different characters, whether black, white or in space?

How long did it take before someone realized that Emanuelle and Amityville are both available to put together and lure me into watching 65 minutes of the results?

That’s why I blame AI.

If you have watched any of the post-relevant Amityville movies by now — you can stop after the Canadian ones, if you’re like most people, or after the In the Hood ones if you’re like me — you should never look at the poster and decide to watch these movies. I promise you that hardly anything on this art happens in the movie or even gets close to it and looking at it will only spoil you for visuals that its creators and budget are unable to deliver.

As you know — you must know — on November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. shot and killed six members of his family at 112 Ocean Avenue in the suburban neighborhood in Amityville, located somewhere on the south shore of Long Island, New York.

This movie accepts that and even starts with a quick cut version of it to set up what we see next.

Twenty-some years later, Laura Lutz (Dawn Church) is working in marketing, of which she says, “I market things. I get people to buy things. It’s like advertising” as I screamed at the screen while I actually did marketing inches away from this prompt-created attempt to finally destroy my Amityville obsessed black soul. She’s also trying to date and hasn’t gotten any for a year because of, yes, marketing and good Lord, this movie is trying my soul because it’s hitting so close to home my dog is trembling as the house shakes this way and that.

She ends up going on a double date with her friend Allie (Linda S. Wong) and hooking up with a nebbish teacher named Evan (Chris Spinelli) who seems to be acting for the back rows of a theater that no longer exists. Oh — I nearly forgot. Some lady brought over a box of objects from her father — George Lutz, who was played by James Brolin and Ryan Reynolds once long before Amityville movies were made on a daily basis and I had to search Tubi every morning at 3:15 AM to see which ones had possessed my smart TV, forcing me to watch them eyes sleepily open, simply through just a touch of Lucifer’s burning hand.

One of the objects in the box of occult stuff her dad kept all these years looks like a cocktail shaker but the filmmakers assure us that it’s an urn. Well, that urn has the ashes of Ronald DeFeo Jr. in it, the father of this movie’s other lead, Gordon (Shane Ryan-Reid), who has been seeing visions of his murderous father more and more since he died in jail. And when his girlfriend Gena (Allie Perez) gets a Ouija board as a housewarming gift from Scott (Johnny Avila)and May (Joycelyne Lew)…I mean, who does this kind of thing? What kind of gift is that? Don’t you know what happens?

Well, they’re lucky because Gena’s cousin Janet (Saint Heart) is a medium. They need her pretty bad right now — she’s sure she’s going to die so she makes Gena promise to take care of her cat Roman — because Laura gets possessed by the spirit and it makes her hook up with two dudes at a bar and shows up inside her bed while she’s jilling off. Worse of all, Evan has gone murderous, killing everyone that comes close to her.

I fear that in all these words, I’ve somehow made Amityville Emanuelle more exciting than it is. It’s an Amityville movie with no real Amityville, not even a shot of the house, just connected to real people whose real lives were destroyed by the case. And I can handle exploitation — I wallow in it, let’s be honest — but when you go nowhere deeper than saying, “These are the kids of Amityville” and then just have them sit in a living room, this underwhelms even when I barely expected it to whelm. But adding to that ennui is the fact that they’ve somehow made an Emanuelle movie with no nudity and some of the most boring lovemaking scenes you’ll see outside of an afternoon soap opera. In fact, in one, the guy pulls a blanket over Laura’s shoulders while she’s on top of him. This is an Emanuelle movie, with one m, and that means that Joe D’Amato is practically spinning so fast in his grave now that he’s about to burst forth from the Earth at the utter gaul of making even a softcore sex movie the unsexiest sex you’ve seen since you found your parent’s hardback of Dr. Alex Comfort’s The Joy of Sex. Children of the seventies, remember when the only nudity you could find was the Sears catalog bra pages? That was volcanic compared to this flaccid nonsense.

Nearly everyone that acted in this either produced or also worked behind the camera, no one is blameless. You do it to yourself, you do and that’s what really hurts, as they say. Or sing.

You know, if Joe D’Amato was alive, he’d be making movies with titles a lot like this, but they’d also have half the cast torn to shreds and sitting bloody and congealing in an acid bathtub while a schoolmarmish maid gave her adopted child of a master a furtive handjob, because that’s how you really make a scummy movie. Please learn from the masters.

You can watch this on Tubi.

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