Picks and Pans Review: Amityville Ii: the Possession

updated 11/08/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/08/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

The first night the family moves into their new home, the walls quake, things start to fly around and a couple of paint brushes up and write "dishonor thy father" and "pigs" on the walls. Later fires break out, the electricity goes off and on, pipes burst and the family members start beating each other up and having incestuous relationships. This, obviously, is nobody's dream house. Most people in this situation would ask for a refund, put the place back on the market, or at least call in an aluminum-siding salesman. But Burt (Rocky) Young and wife, Rutanya (The Deer Hunter) Alda, try to brazen it out, even when it's obvious that their son, played by newcomer Jack Magner, has become possessed and that their Long Island colonial is the house that became The Amityville Horror in the 1979 film—of which this gruesome, tedious sequel is actually a prequel. The demon doing the mischief is brutal, yet has a sense of decorum. When James Olson shows up as a priest wanting to do an exorcism, the demon tells him, "You can't do that; you aren't authorized." Olson has some success—his crucifix seems to be of a higher caliber than those wielded by clergymen in most recent horror films—but then, maybe the demon was only possessing at half-throttle, saving up his good stuff for Margot Kidder in the 79 film. The movie is Italian director Damiano Damiani's first in English; few will breathlessly await his second. (R)

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