Amityville 3-D (1983)

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Released 19-Aug-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Menu Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Aurora
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1983
Running Time 86:39 (Case: 95)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Richard Fleischer
Studio
Distributor
Dino De Laurentiis
Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Tony Roberts
Tess Harper
Robert Joy
Candy Clark
Lori Loughlin
Meg Ryan
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Howard Blake


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.93:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Alright, first things first, Amityville 3-D is not a 3-d movie. It is the third movie in the Amityville haunted house series, and the "D" stands for "Demon". The title, therefore, is actually Amityville 3: The Demon. Secondly, despite the cover listing Meg Ryan as one of the stars (she gets top billing), and the blurb painting it as if she is in every second shot, she actually only has a small role.

    The story of Amityville surrounds the (supposedly infamous) house in Amityville that starred in the first two movies. I have never seen those movies, but they supposedly do not go past being barely average (note that this third instalment is the only one of the three available on DVD). This time, the house is bought by investigative journalist John Baxter (Tony Roberts) who needs a place to live now that his divorce with his wife Nancy (Tess Harper) has come through. Being the sceptic that he is, he selects the Amityville house not only because is it cheap, but because he thinks that it will have the atmosphere necessary for him to write his great American novel. Obviously, the house has other ideas (this is a horror movie after all), and starts bumping off his friends and family. Strangely enough, the house seems to have the ability to stretch its evil wherever the occupants are - they don't just have to be in the house. As John slowly begins to believe in the mysteries surrounding the house, he has to take drastic action that leads to a confrontation with the terrible force that is in control of the house.

    The movie works reasonably well for the most part, and there are a few genuinely chilling scenes, but it is incredibly let down by the finale that is completely silly and extremely over the top. It just completely ruins the work of the previous 70-odd minutes, and destroys any atmosphere that has been created. The performances range from the poor (the extreme over acting of Candy Clark as John's journalistic partner Melanie) to quite good (Tony Roberts is eminently believable, and yes, Meg Ryan's talent stands out in this early performance), but nothing will ever rescue this film from the mediocre that is created by its totally far-fetched and silly ending.

    Overall, this is really only a movie for the avid horror collector, and even then it is probably best stopped after around 70 minutes, instead of letting it go through to its conclusion. If this is anything to judge the rest of the series by, then maybe it is a good thing they are not available on DVD.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Strictly speaking, this transfer is rather poor - but given the age and nature of this feature, the transfer is actually considerably better than expected.

    Presented at 1.93:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced. The aspect ratio of the presentation is somewhat of a mystery, as the original theatrical aspect ratio for this title is 2.35:1. This is obvious during the opening credits, where some of the longer names disappear off the edge of the screen. The only conclusion I can come to for the cropped presentation is that there was damage to the original print outside of the area transferred to DVD.

    Unsurprisingly, this is a very soft transfer, and it is not helped by a number of instances where the camera was badly out of focus, such as from 13:19 to 13:32. There is an abundance of grain present, and while it is normally light enough that the action can be made out through it, once the screen darkens a little all that is visible is a swirling sea of grain (an example can be seen between 28:17 and 30:32 on the front angle of Melanie). Shadow detail is adversely effected by this grain, and as such it is hard to make out anything at all during darker scenes - and as this is a haunted house movie, that is quite a problem. There may well be low-level noise, but there is so much grain that it is hard to determine.

    Colours are not too bad - they certainly reflect the time the film was made - and are in general a little muted. Deeper colours fare better than brights, as highlights come through very poorly.

    Given the container-load of grain, it is not surprising that there is a fair amount of pixelisation, but it is kept entirely to the background and never increases the problems of the grain. Film-to-video artefacts are a mixed bag. Given the softness of the transfer, the lack of aliasing is a given, but the entire movie is afflicted with some minor telecine wobble. Just pick any scene that has the camera locked and includes straight lines - they will bob and move about to a small extent. The wobble is minor however, and really not that noticeable over the rest of the transfer's problems. Going hand-in-hand with everything else is a plethora of film artefacts. Virtually every frame has at least some small artefacts, and there are many larger ones as well. Some of the more noticeable and distracting are vertical lines that appear for a number of frames, such as at 5:36.

    There are no subtitles on this disc.

    The disc is single-layered, and therefore does not contain a layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer is actually quite impressive, far surpassing the quality of the video, and equalling some of the best audio transfer for films of this age and genre.

    There are two audio tracks present on the disc, being the original English dialogue in both Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 448 Kbps) and Dolby Digital 2.0 (also at 448 Kbps - yes that's right, a 2.0 track at 448 Kbps).

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times, even over the many effects. This is a very impressive effort, although the 2.0 soundtrack misses out somewhat here, as it is not as easy to understand, missing out on the anchoring centre speaker and making the dialogue seem more distant.

    Audio sync is, in a word, terrible. Much of the movie is slightly out, and there are many examples where it is visibly out, such as in the car from 14:38 to 15:03. Again, the 2.0 soundtrack comes off second best here, as it is much further out, and there are some scenes where the 2.0 track is out with the 5.1 is still OK. An example is at 15:53 where the dialogue in the 5.1 track is slightly out, but in the 2.0 track is almost a full word apart from the lip movements.

    The score is credited to Howard Black and it is an effective horror/ghost story score, building tension effectively where needed so the scare moments have the desired impact. By today's standards, it is probably a little too heavy-handed, but it is still good enough to get the job done.

    For the 5.1 track, this is the most impressive part of the entire presentation, as the surrounds are used frequently and aggressively to carry both ambient noise and the score. While there is little use made of directional sound effects, the result is still pleasing, and it very much helps to improve the immersiveness of the soundtrack.

    The subwoofer has little to do, although there are a few scenes where it is called on. In general it backs up the score to a certain extent, but as there is little bass in the score, it stays quiet for the majority of the movie.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    This disc comes with absolutely no extras whatsoever.

Menu

    The menu is animated, themed around the movie and is 16x9 enhanced. It is actually quite an impressive menu, and sets the mood for the movie well.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This is actually an R2 vs. R4 comparison as Amityville 3-d is not available in R1.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:

    The Region 2 version of this disc misses out on:     This comparison is simple (especially considering the UK R2 version has only a 4x3 transfer) - if you are at all interested in this movie R4 is the place to get it.

Summary

    Amityville 3-D is a good, albeit dated, horror/ghost movie that is completely destroyed by an over-the-top and silly finale.

    The video quality is simply bad. There is an enormous amount of grain, there are many instances of bad camera focus, and it is covered in film artefacts.

    The audio quality is very good, sounding as good as any of the 5.1 re-mixes presented for films of this genre and age, but does suffer from being slightly out of sync. Unfortunately the 2.0 track is not as good, suffering from more pronounced sync problems, and being harder to hear in general.

    There are no extras at all on this disc.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Wednesday, September 11, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Anthony H (read my bio)

Comments (Add)
Amityville 3-D WAS in 3-D!!!!! -
I Hope your kidding about THE DEMON thing! - REPLY POSTED
The Demon -
One other way to find out -
amityville horror -
Add Your Heading Here amitvill3 -