Review: Amityville: No Escape is Not Your Average Amityville Horror
Amityville: No Escape is a new found-footage horror film from independent filmmaker Henrique Couto. This story is about a group of college students who are doing a study on fear. They decide the best place to do this is deep in the woods near one of the most haunted towns in America, Amityville. While camping, they soon discover the meaning of true fear and fight to avoid becoming another chapter in the legend of Amityville.
Now I know what many of you are thinking. “Oh no, not ANOTHER Amityville movie. A found-footage Amityville horror film no less”. But wait.
Director Herique Couto managed to surprise me in a number of ways. First was the way that the found-footage was handled. One of the things that bother me about the found-footage category is the shaky cam, a dominant feature particularly in action scenes and when people are running. In Amityville: No Escape, Couto manages to keep the filming very steady while still giving it a found-footage feel. I was not distracted by the camera movement.
The reason the footage exists to be found was also handled well. The group is filming a documentary so they would want to capture as much as possible. It felt natural for them to have their cameras running at all times. The feeling of danger lurking in the woods was a constant element in the story. Just when the group seemed to get settled there would be a sound or an image that would raise the tension again.
Another tension-building element was intercutting the scenes involving the study group with footage that was recorded by Lena, a woman living in the Amityville house. Lina and her husband had bought the Amityville home just before her husband shipped out to serve overseas. Through a series of video recordings, we watch as Lina tries her best to get the house in order and also deal with the growing number of creepy incidents that happen within the house.
Lina is played by Julia Gomez and I loved every scene she was in. She shines in her portrayal of a woman who is trying to be strong while becoming more and more terrified of the creepy things happening around her. There is a scene where she finds a dress from one of the previous occupants and tries it on. Her performance in that scene made the hairs on my arm stand on end. I thought everyone put on very convincing performances but Gomez’s performance in her solo scenes is enough to make the film worth watching.
There was one scene in the film, involving a pool, that felt a bit odd and random. I think it was meant to give the viewer more insight into the type of people in the group but it felt a bit out of place. There are also a couple of scenes involving nudity that, while they did not take me out of the film, were not necessarily needed to further the plot. Outside of those two things, Amityville: No Escape is a creepy, realistic feeling found-footage film that is a must-watch for fans of the genre.
Amityville: No Escape will be available June 13th on DVD and VOD.
Keep up to date on the film by following the official Facebook page here.