Directed by: John Murlowski
Written by: Christopher DeFaria and Antonio M. Toro
Starring: Ross Partridge, Lala Sloatman and Julia Nickson-Soul
Reviewed by: Josh G.
Most horror movie series run their course until eventually, near part four, it’s evident that the plug should be pulled, as was often the case with viewers of the Amityville Horror films. Of course, we now know that while the features were heading to video release, the films just wouldn’t stop. Some may have called it The Amityville Curse. Amityville: A New Generation, which is usually referred to as part six (though it’s actually the seventh film in the series), took an approach much like its predecessor Amityville 1992: It’s About Time, using an evil item as the plot center. Replacing a clock with a mirror, it was fright time once again. But would Amityville be able to pull some creativity out of its pocket? It was highly improbable.
A photographer, Keyes Terry (Ross Partridge) takes a picture of a homeless man (Jack R. Orend) and gives him some cash. The man generously, but suspiciously, gives Keyes the only possession he has: an old mirror passed down through his family. When Keyes takes it home to his apartment, his girlfriend Llanie (Lala Sloatman) finds it unappealing and orders it to be removed. The couple’s neighbor Suki (Julia Nickson-Soul), an artist, asks for the mirror and sets it up at her place. She absolutely loves its design. But no sooner does the spooky Amityville aroma seep through the building, as the mirror kills off an unwanted visitor of Suki’s. Suki is later knocked off as well with the terrible mirror forcing her to hang herself. Meanwhile, Keyes is having recurring nightmares about an odd home, where he plays a killer who shoots his entire family at the dinner table on Thanksgiving. He has some connection to the dream; to the homeless man; to the mirror. It won’t be long until his past is revealed, and the reflective evil is fully unleashed.
Sure, the film sounds average, but it’s so much less than your already low expectations that precede it. At least this sequel has some familiar faces. Terry O’Quinn (1987's The Stepfather; TV’s Lost) plays Detective Clark, a man who repeatedly returns to the scenes of the supernatural murders, also acting as an aid for Keyes to discover his foggy childhood. Slasher fans will rejoice when Llanie and Keyes’ friend Janet Cutler appears. She’s played by Barbara Howard, the victim of a door-bursting axe in Friday the 13th – The Final Chapter as Sara. However, the most notable horror homage goes to the A Nightmare on Elm Street series, where not one but two Freddy alumni make screen appearances. Robert Rusler (playing Suki’s abusive date Ray) is most noted for his role as Ron Grady in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. Don’t forget Lin Shaye (playing Nurse Turner) who some may recognize as both the teacher in the original Elm Street, and a cameo as a nurse in the following year’s Wes Craven's New Nightmare.
Do you think that the fun is just getting started? Well, you’re wrong. If it wasn’t for the word ‘Amityville’ being mentioned, the famous Amityville house scarcely appearing in the mirror, and a striking plot piece similar in details to the true events, you’d swear this was an in-name-only sequel. The entire script is silly and dramatic, and the first sex scene (there’s two) doesn’t fit in smoothly with the shots, clearly a pointless attempt to show off Sloatman’s chest. The acting is only fair, and the expressions on the main characters’ faces are unconvincing. At least the make-up effects are done alright. It’s not a very bloody movie, with the only major bloodletting coming from a man’s face being shot off. Even then, it’s no bloodbath. The sappy ‘I never had a father’ storyline of Keyes isn’t worth the attention that it’s given. Overall, A New Generation just doesn’t have enough drive to spook anyone on subject matter alone.
Although the characters, save for Suki, are drab and colorless, you can still tell them apart. That’s a plus! All you have to know is: there’s the main guy, his blonde girlfriend, the pointy-nosed lady, her dark-haired husband, and the black guy. That’s it! No doubling up on blonde girls or common-mouthed heartthrobs. Suki is the only fun character, who even when possessed, will make you side with her. She seduces Janet Cutler’s husband, Dick (David Naughton) and doesn’t even keep secret about it when friends come over. Her mind is carefree, and her paintings of demons are very well done. She’s had a scary obsession with dancing demons ever since she was a little girl, and she wants to make her dream come alive. She pulls a rope that makes all of her demon paintings shake, as if they really are dancing. It’s hilariously creative. But like all dedicated artists, Suki begins to see real demons. Are they products of the Amityville mirror? Well, they’re green, red eyed, and created with poor special effects. All we care about is seeing something like this happen after the minutes of boredom we have endured thus far.
The story with Keyes’ past is concluded, and the audience finds it just as uninteresting as when it was introduced. Keyes develops this wild thought in his head that he too will shoot his family just like the person in his dreams. What does his girlfriend suggest? Llanie pitches the idea of shooting herself and Keyes’ friends with a red-dyed water-filled super soaker. Yes, that’ll apparently solve everything! You find yourself crossing your fingers in hopes that for the finale, some redemption will be made for the poorly constructed beginning and middle. What you get is a predictable, eye-rolling, uneventful sendoff with bad character reactions and shitty lines. Not even Terry O’Quinn could have saved this. I will say that I enjoyed one part of Amityville Part VI (or is it Part VII?). Aside from Suki, the art show was wonderful to observe. Whoever painted those pretty demon pictures have true artistic inspiration and talent. From this computer I sit, all I can judge A New Generation with is for not having enough Amityville, and using too much sequel expectation status. New ideas aren’t always good ideas. If you spot this on its mediocre barebones Lions Gate DVD, dance with the demons as far away from it as possible. Trash it!
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