If there’s a horror franchise that needs to die, it’s the Amityville series. But Children of the Corn and the Hellraiser movies aren’t far behind. At present, there’s possibly at least 20 movies that have some – albeit loose – connection to The Amityville Horror. Though opinions may vary, the original 1979 movie is the only good one. But that hasn’t stopped filmmakers from trying. Oh, there’s actual sequels, prequels, a remake, and then seemingly unrelated movies just using the ‘Amityville’ name. Most of these movies took the direct-to-video route. After a fifth movie – Amityville The Curse – abandoned the series’ continuity, Amityville 1992 – It’s About Time – also released in 1992 – kind of re-connected to 112 Ocean Avenue. Some Amityville fans even claim it’s the best of the sequels. Critics disagreed but nearly 30 years have passed. Is this a 90’s direct-to-video sequel that deserves to be directly streamed to your living rooms?
After a business trip on the east coast, Jacob Sterling comes home with a surprise addition to the family house – an antique clock. An architect, Jacob reclaimed the clock from a re-construction project on a torn-down house … in Amityville. Soon thereafter, the Sterling family suffers a series of increasingly strange phenomenon. A neighbourhood dog mauls Jacob, leaving him bedridden. Both Sterling children begin seeing things that can’t be real. And Jacob’s ex-girlfriend, Andrea, fears for his deteriorating sanity. Has Jacob unwittingly brought home a decades-old curse?
Laughably Illogical Story Haunts Amityville 1992 – It’s About Time
Some screenplays are generic, producing dull, forgettable movies. And then there are screenplays so lacking in logic that the resulting movie almost demands that you keep watching. Amityville 1992 – It’s About Time falls into the latter category. Almost nothing about this sequel makes sense. Writers Christopher DeFaria and Antonio Toro’s effort to connect things the 1979 original movie involves namedropping 112 Ocean Avenue. Oh, and the neighbour, Mrs Wheeler, just happens to understand the occult. And she also just happens to have a book with a picture of the original house. We’ll just ignore the fact that the original Amityille haunting had nothing to do with cursed clocks. Besides DeFaria and Toro’s history for their clock in no way informs what happens in the movie. It’s completely irrelevant.
Eventually there’s some time travel because … hey, it’s a movie about an evil clock.
Speaking of the haunting, Amityville 1992 – It’s About Time follows now discernible rules. Stuff just literally happens. Old torture rooms flash in and out of existence. Of course, it’s something that has no impact on anything that follows. Bad things happen to characters outside the house. There’s black goo in some scenes for no particular reason. Then we have the world’s worst doctor who lets a patient leave with a horrible leg wound. Don’t forget about some implied incest … and this is before the clock presumably possesses one of the siblings. One character un-ironically says, ‘Choo! Choo! All aboard!’ At one point in the sequel, a puddle (or something) sucks a character into the floor. Eventually there’s some time travel because … hey, it’s a movie about an evil clock.
Tony Randel Does His Best To Put ‘Lipstick on a Pig’
Director Tony Randel never did much over his career. However, Randel did direct the very good, Hellbound – Hellraiser 2. Even with a direct-to-video budget, Randel flashes some talent. In fact, it’s the combination of Randel’s occasional flair and the haphazard story that makes Amityville 1992 – It’s About Time so strangely watchable. While it’s never scary, It’s About Time occasionally approaches creepy territory. Moreover, Daniel Licht’s better-than-expected score lends something close to atmosphere. There’s also an occasional feeling of surrealism not unlike Randel’s work in Hellbound. Still Randel’s style – which worked for Hellbound’s labyrinthe world – falls short. Inevitably, Randel can’t overcome the movie’s convoluted story.
Amityville 1992 – It’s About Time Scares Up Some Uneven Performances
Like just about everything else with this sequel, the performances are all over the map. As ‘Jacob Sterling’, Stephen Macht really gives two performances. Anyone familiar with Macht’s character work may not buy into his early ‘doting dad’. Fortunately, Amityville 1992 – It’s About Time gives Macht ample opportunity to chew the scenery as Sterling falls under the clock’s spell. While the performance isn’t quite on par with his villain Graveyard Shift, Macht at least knows what movie he’s acting in. In contrast, Jonathan Penner – playing Andrea’s psychiatrist boyfriend – seems to think he’s in a very different film. It’s a comically over-the-top performance in all the wrong ways. Ditto for Nita Talbot’s odd neighbour, Mrs Wheeler.
Out of the entire cast, Shawn Weatherly offers the movie’s most grounded performance. Or at least what’s considered ‘grounded’ for a movie about an evil clock.
Neither teen actor does enough to save or detract from the sequel. Arguably, Megan Ward acquits herself a little better than the nondescript Damon Martin. And Ward was actually in early 20’s when the movie released, thereby reducing some of the sleaziness of the sequel’s sexualization of her character. Out of the entire cast, Shawn Weatherly offers the movie’s most grounded performance. Or at least what’s considered ‘grounded’ for a movie about an evil clock.
Amityville 1992 – It’s About Time Isn’t Good, But It’s Almost Good For an Amityville Movie
Fans of Amityville 1992 – It’s About Time are probably overstating their case. On just about any objective measure of quality, this direct-to-video sequel is a mess. Randel pulls off a few strange moments, but the story is almost incoherently bad. And it’s not quite bad enough, or weird enough, to qualify as a cult classic. Arguably, the best thing anyone can say about Amityville 1992 – It’s About Time is that it’s not the worst of the Amityville movies. It may even be one of the better franchise entries, which isn’t saying much.