It's easy to forget—after a long life in the news cycle, 10 increasingly bad films and endless imitators—that the 1977 book The Amityville Horror was based on purportedly true events. When you view those events through the eyes of the children who actually experienced them, it’s irrelevant whether they were fabricated by a domineering patriarch or were the result of real paranormal chaos. If this documentary is any indication, the events damaged young Danny Lutz irreparably. The film homes in on a fortysomething Lutz—a recluse with jittery posture, a tendency to snap under pressure and a firm belief that spirits may still be residing in his body—as he tells his story to therapists, the camera and reporters. He's a fascinating subject, and director Eric Walter intersperses his film with dimly lit interviews with the rattled loner and trips to visit various figures from his past. The doc falters a bit when it leaves Danny to eavesdrop on goofy roundtable discussions among paranormal investigators about the authenticity of the case. But one thing is certain: Lutz is haunted. Whether that's the result of an abusive stepfather, overexposure to the media, his own imagination or actual malicious spirits is ultimately inconsequential. His story is heartbreaking.
- Running Time:
- Release Date: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
- Critic's Score: B-
- Watch the trailer