Over the last few years producer Jason Blum's studio Blumhouse Productions has mastered the art of turning a high profit from micro- or low-budget horror films, the best example of which is probably the original Paranormal Activity and its subsequent sequels, which have so far grossed over $800 million worldwide (with a collective production budget of just $18 million).
Found footage is an easy direction to take when producing a horror movie on a shoestring budget; by their very design such movies are usually unpolished with minimal production value. It therefore came as little surprise when Dimension Films announced a new Amityville Horror movie (with Jason Blum producing), which would be titled Amityville: The Lost Tapes and be shot found footage style.
Since then, however, an over-saturation of found footage movies in the horror genre - including Dimension's own dismal found footage Hellraiser sequel, Hellraiser: Revelations - has led to horror fans becoming more than a little weary of the sub-genre. Perhaps this is the reason why (as The Wrap reports based on the Bloody Disgusting exclusive) the found footage angle for Amityville: The Lost Tapes has now been dropped. This also explains why the movie was recently retitled to the more hashtag-friendly Amityville.
Amityville is a sequel to the original 1976 movie about an ambitious news intern who tries to score her big break by leading a team of clergymen, journalists and paranormal researchers into an investigation of the haunting, only to find herself falling in a little too deep. The Wrap also reports that Amityville will be directed by Franck Khalfoun, whose most recent movie was Maniac, a stylistically-experiemental horror starring Elijah Wood as a serial killer who stalks young women.
Speaking of casting, Amityville has found its young lead in Bella Thorne, currently known for Disney dance-tasting kids show Shake It Up! There are certainly worse ways to try and break out of the Disney mold than an Amityville Horror sequel; at least this probably won't involve any wrecking ball stunts. Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hitcher) has also been cast as a single mother who moves her three kids into the Amityville house. The script for the movie was penned by Daniel Farrands and Casey La Scala, who are also co-producing with Blum.
Is this latest Amityville movie sounding any more promising now that the found footage angle has been dropped, or should this haunted house be left undisturbed?
Amityville will be released in theaters on January 2, 2015.