A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Amityville Harvest is a 2020 horror movie in which a film crew trying to make a documentary in an old funeral home encounters a vampire. It's a stand-alone sequel in The Amityville Horror franchise. Unsurprisingly, there's plenty of horror movie violence and gore. Characters are killed by getting bludgeoned to death with a hammer. A character is killed by getting stabbed repeatedly by muskets from an undead Civil War soldier. In a nightmare, a woman's heart is pulled out of her chest and eaten by her assailant. Demonic and monster imagery throughout. Blood, some gore. A man dreams that he's on the verge of having sex with a colleague in the film crew -- no nudity. Flirtatious woman grabs her breasts. Frequent profanity, including "f--k" used several times. Wine drinking. Cigarette smoking.
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What's the story?
In THE AMITYVILLE HARVEST, a ragtag documentary film crew has arrived at an old manor and funeral home to learn about its connection to the Civil War and liquor-smuggling. They meet Vincent, the civilized if creepy owner of the property. The plan is for the crew to stay at the manor while filming, and interview Vincent at night, as that best accommodates his busy schedule. However, some in the crew are there to look into the mysterious disappearance of a local woman last seen at the funeral of her husband that recently occurred in this very same funeral parlor. Soon, the crew begins to experience demonic hallucinations and nightmares. While trying to interview Vincent, the crew soon realizes that they cannot get his voice or body on film. Soon, Vincent, blood-thirsty and angered at the crew's snooping around where they were told never to go, begins to bite the necks of the crew, turning them into undead versions of themselves who lure others in the crew to their fates. The crew must also contend with Randolph, a blood-soaked, hammer-wielding, psychotic man lurking in the funeral home basement. Those still left must find a way to escape from Vincent and Randolph before it's too late.
Is it any good?
This stand-alone sequel of a franchise that started in the 1970s is as predictable as it is cheesy. The Amityville Harvest is yet another case of a sequel being worse than the original. In fact, it's so far removed from the original that the profit motive is clearly the only reason this has "The Amityville" in the title. While set in the hamlet of Amityville, this is little more than a run-of-the-mill vampire horror story, with the added "bonus" of a blood-soaked, mask-wearing, hammer-wielding psycho with a limp. For these victims, they have the option of getting gnawed at the neck and becoming undead, or getting bludgeoned to death with a hammer. It's good to have options?
Admittedly, the cheese factor makes it somewhat entertaining. It's one of those horror movies where you can have fun guessing who is going to get killed, and in what order. There's plenty that defies all logic, but that's hardly a departure from most horror movies. The acting is above-average for a low-budget horror movie, not that it really matters all that much. There's even a backstory involving the Lincoln assassination, in case there wasn't already enough absurdity to the story. It's a bad movie, but it could be a good-bad movie with the right attitude and/or low expectations. At best, it's video wallpaper for Halloween parties.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about horror movies. How does The Amityville Harvest compare to other horror movies you've seen?
Aside from the name of the town in which the movie is set, this sequel has no connection to the original 1979 The Amityville Horror movie. Why do you think studios release "sequels" of well-known movies, even if they have very little to do with the original movie?
How was graphic violence, or even the hint of graphic violence, used to provoke scares from the audience? Was the violence necessary for the story, or was it too much? Why?
- On DVD or streaming: October 20, 2020
- Cast: Kyle Lowder, Sadie Katz, Yan Birch
- Director: Thomas J. Churchill
- Studio: Grindstone Entertainment Group
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: Horror violence/bloody images, and language.
- Last updated: October 27, 2020
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