AMITYVILLE DOLLHOUSE (1996)
Bill (Robin Thomas) has just gotten re-married and has built a new house, over the site of another that burned down, for his new family. In the leftover shed is a dollhouse that unbeknownst to Bill is built as an exact replica of the infamous Amityville house. He gives it to his daughter Jessica (Rachel Duncan) for her birthday and let’s just say the miniature version is no less haunted than the original. Supernatural hi-jinx ensue.
While the premise is quite goofy, as are the proceedings, film is taken quite seriously by director Steve White from a silly script by Joshua Michael Stern. Aside from the ridiculous premise—and that the Amityville House was in Long Island, New York and this takes place in California, so where did the dollhouse come from? —we get giant mice, homicidal hornets, dads (Clayton Murray) returned from the dead, demons and overheated stepmoms (Starr Andreeff). We are also treated to overactive fireplaces, the dollhouse being a portal to a demon dimension and for exposition purposes, Bill’s sister (Lenore Kasdorf) Maria and her biker boyfriend (Franc Ross) just happen to be mediums that dabble in the occult—not that they are much help. Taken seriously by its director and cast makes it all the more fun as we watch this family tormented and terrorized by the demonic dollhouse and are treated to some decent make-up FX to represent walking corpse dads, burn victims and a pair of actual demons during its amusingly overbaked climax. Do we ever find out where the dollhouse came from and why it’s a demon doorway? No! —and who cares?! There is a lot of unintentional entertainment here as White, and company seemed to set out to make a serious horror and failed miserably. Entertainment is entertainment, intentional or not. The cast try hard to play the material straight and if some of the performances are a little over the top, who can blame them considering what they have to work with. The production looks solid, though it has a direct to VOD feel, and the budget benefits from being set mostly in and around the house.
Overall, this is a an unintentionally silly but fun horror that seems to have had every intention of taking its ridiculous story seriously. Win win for us, as it is entertaining in its preposterousness and with a few of the right beverages can be a hoot to watch. Streaming free on Tubi and Amazon Prime.
Rated 3 (out of 4) familiar haunted houses!