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Amityville Karen DVD Review

‘Amityville Karen’ feels rushed.

For years now, ‘The Amityville Horror’ has been getting gimmicky spinoff entries such as ‘Amityville In Space,’ ‘Amityville Vibrator’ and now ‘Amityville Karen.’ In this indie horror-comedy, Karen is a Compliance Officer who complains about everything. She’s easily offended, entitled, self-absorbed and is a general nuisance to everyone she encounters. Her latest mission is to bring down a winery business, but that plan goes sideways after she steals and drinks a bottle of Amityville Wine. Now, Karen is undergoing changes that make her even more of a hellion (and a murderous one at that).

YouTuber Shawn C. Phillips (AKA Coolduder) has been a longtime promoter and reviewer of physical media. He’s also acted in numerous indie horror films for a number of years as well. Now, he’s stepping into the director’s chair to helm several horror comedies with the first home video release being ‘Amityville Karen.’ It’s always nice to see a fellow reviewer become a filmmaker and his journey will no doubt be inspiring to his fans. While the tongue in cheek DIY ‘Karen’ is a valiant effort, it’s in need of work.

Although Julie Anne Prescott is credited as a writer, ‘Karen’ relies on a lot of improvised scenes much to its detriment. Words and lines are repeated (and sometimes flubbed), scenes like the band sequence linger on much longer than they need to (which impacts the pacing), and scenes featuring Kickstarter backers are shoehorned in. The editing by Will Collazo is also problematic here. There are cuts and transitions that don’t make sense (or have errors) and it honestly feels like the finished project is a rough cut. A half-hour could have easily been trimmed out to make it a tighter movie. A lot of these issues could have been fixed by sticking to a script. Yes, there are limited locations and assumed obligations to feature actors and backers, but having a more focused story and thought out comedy and horror elements would make it a better and more effective movie.

On the plus side, there are a few notable performances here that elevate the material. Lauren Francesca (the titular Karen) really commits to the role and is easily the best part of the movie. Acting veteran James Duval classes up the movie in a brief, but key role as Troy.  Finally, there’s Shawn C. Phillips who also steps in front of the camera as Alex and gives a commendable performance. It’s clear that Phillips is passionate about all aspects of moviemaking. As a director he may fall victim to low-budget trappings (and is clearly learning a lot on the job), but he’s living his dream of telling stories and that’s something to applaud.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 16:9

Audio Track: Unspecified.

Extras:
* ‘Amityville Karen’ teaser trailer
* 2 bonus scenes
* A fun 36 minute making of featurette that contains a ton of behind-the-scenes footage, a look at the production, cast interactions, rehearsals and makeup applications.
* A commentary is listed it but it did not play on my end.

September 4, 2022 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , , , ,

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