Friday, May 21, 2021

The Amityville Harvest – review

Director: Thomas J. Churchill

Release date: 2020

Contains spoilers

Where to start? Well, it isn’t an Amityville movie, not in how I know them (though I have to admit I have not stayed abreast of the various films). Rather it is a vampire film set in the town of Amityville. Probably so that it could play off the other franchise’s name.

It also is not a harvest. Harvest would suggest a deliberate gathering of the crops – as I’ll mention later, there doesn’t really have seemed to be a deliberate element to the events (on the vampire’s part) that said the plot is paper thin and full of holes, so maybe that was the intent?


We start at a funeral and the widow, Lana (Keavy Bradley), says farewell to her husband (Paul Logan, Way of the Vampire & Angel). She is warned that they are ready to move the casket and the mourners have left. She goes to the loo and then drops her phone in the bowl (superfluous way of removing a communications device when later we discover that no phones work and also she doesn’t try it anyway). Trying to leave the house, she discovers she is locked in. She bangs on the window but no-one hears her and then she sees herself getting in the car (this vampire loves illusions). She sees the funeral director (and vampire), Vincent Miller (Kyle Lowder), on the stairs. “Stay with me forever” she hears as her dead husband appears and comes at her, his face becoming rotten.

the house

So, Christina (Sadie Katz) – ably assisted by her sister Nancy (Alexa Pellerin) – is a news anchor who is doing a segment called “my civil war”. The logic may be entirely American, but I’d have thought you couldn’t do such a segment with that name as no-one is alive to interview… Rather she is interviewing family members and they have a call back from Vincent Miller (who actually was alive, though they don’t know that). So they pull a crew together with Scratch (Michael Cervantes) on sound and Janet (Johanna Rae, Lilitu) makeup. She brings in a lighting guy she’s never worked with before, Cosmo (Brandon Alan Smith), and he brings still photographer Lexi (Eva Ceja) and assistant Ottis (George W. Scott).


Now, Cosmo isn’t exactly straight with Christina – he and Lexi are actually hunting for a missing person… Lana. This is their excuse to get into the house and the funeral home next door (and, of course, an outrageous coincidence that Christina picks a random crew member with ulterior motives). They have dinner after they arrive and are shown round. Ottis, who refused to toast the civil war, goes out for a smoke and hears a voice telling him to leave. Then a couple of figures in confederate uniform march before him, eventually showing their rotten faces and then bayoneting him. Cosmo has come out to look for him and cannot see him murdered right in front of him. A comment by Vincent later suggests that these are actually soldiers cursed to protect his gold (taken as payment to assassinate Lincoln) and the credits call them zombies.


We then have the crew plagued during the night be it with illusions or dreams, sleep through the day and then over the course of the next night (around a three-hour interview) get picked off. Now Vincent blames Cosmo for getting the innocent crew members killed, indicating he is acting because of the uninvited snooping through his house – similarly he killed a goth couple who broke in before they arrived. This is not a harvest, however, but opportunistic killing dressed up as necessity. However it is also disingenuous – three hours of interview and they discover they have an empty chair on video and no sound… the vampire cannot be recorded (and he knew it too), so why invite them? It makes no sense, especially as there will be a paper trail straight to him. I would say it must mean he aimed to kill them (so maybe a harvest all along) but it makes no logical sense.

that just annoyed him

Why turn the goth woman who broke in? Why suddenly decide to turn your aged assistant during these events rather than wait a day? Why is Lana still alive apparently? We get a strange guy (the mortuary assistant who might be a ghoul of some sort) going around with a weird gait and smacking folks with a mallet. We have a confederate vampire who was part of the Lincoln kidnap plot and, when that didn’t work out, encouraged Booth to assassinate Lincoln, knowing he’d be caught, and stealing the gold – who now just wants the real story to be heard. The film just doesn’t hold together plot wise because the real plot is 'vampire kills people, sometimes toys with them' and that is it.


Lore-wise he was human through the civil war and turned afterwards, he says that holy objects don’t affect him (he was brought up Catholic), he quite likes garlic and a stake to the heart hurts but is not fatal. He is masterful at illusions; become others, making people see things and summoning a bar (ala the Shining). The weirdest touch was the shadowy tendrils he was able to project out of himself (and send out independently from him also). Vampires and shadows are, of course, a known trope area but these things seemed invisible to others (at the dinner table no one notices) but also cast a shadow themselves. Their function was not explained.

It is the incoherent plot and flat 2D characters that really kills this off. We needed more investment and had none. This wasn’t very good I’m afraid 2.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

On DVD @ Amazon US

On DVD @ Amazon UK

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