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The Hamiltons - After Dark Horror Fest

A movie directed by Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores

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Some original twists...but low-budget seams just too big

  • Jun 3, 2007
I love the idea of the "After Dark" fest, and my wife and I were able to see THE GRAVEDANCERS at a movie-theatre and enjoyed it pretty well. The Gravedancers - After Dark Horrorfest So the chance to catch a couple more on DVD was something we looked forward to. We knew these would NOT be classic movies that would live forever...we were just looking for a little cheap fun.

THE HAMILTONS lives up to the "cheap" part. It was shot on digital video, and often appears grainy. It was primarily shot on one location...which can be okay...but for this film it felt a little forced. The editing was a bit choppy, and for much of the movie, we're seeing it through the eyes of the main characters video camera. After a while, this started to feel like an excuse for random images and poor cinematography..."Hey, this guy isn't a great filmmaker, so if we show everything through his lens...no one will realize WE'RE not great filmmakers either." I don't mind low-budget films at all...I've seen and thoroughly enjoyed plenty. But the combination of DV, generally spotty lighting, poor editing and amateur-hour acting for the most part just made it hard to get past the chintzy feel.

The movie does have some decent writing and plotting, though...which make it worth 86 minutes of your time. At first, you feel as though you are about to watch a low-budget HOSTEL or WOLF CREEK. The Hamiltons are a "Party of Five" household (dead parents, teens trying to eek out a living on their own) that has a strange compulsion to capture people (mostly young women, of course) and tie them up in the grimiest and largest cellar ever to grace a normal looking suburban home. We believe we have some idea of why they do it...particularly when we learn about their youngest sibling...who lives in a cage down in the cellar and appears to be incapable of anything but growling and thrashing about. But then certain things that happen make you begin to question your preconceived notions of the kind of film you're watching. By the end...things have been turned fairly well topsy-turvy. It was a brilliant twist...but it was fresh and unexpected enough to make me smile with a kind of "okay, that was actually kind of clever" feeling.

Once the movie was over, we actually discussed it for 5-10 minutes instead of immediately putting it away, never to be mentioned again. We'll certainly never watch it again...but I'll probably always remember THE HAMILTONS.

(PS: If you're looking for gore, the movie actually offers very little. It always cuts away a moment before. There's plenty of blood...but nothing too graphic. If you're looking for nudity...there's one BRIEF scene with a very obvious body double...otherwise it's just a lot of inappropriate kissing. But the turning away from the most explicit actually DOES allow your imagination to run wild just a little bit, adding to the creepiness factor.)

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October 26, 2010
Nice review. I did like this a little bit for a B-movie. I liked that surprising ending. :)
October 26, 2010
Thanks! In fact, after your comment, I went back and looked at my review again, and thought about my reactions overall, and changed my rating from -1 to +1. A small thing, but it gets it into the "barely recommended" category, which I feel is appropriate.
More The Hamiltons - After Dark Hor... reviews
review by . October 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
      THE HAMILTONS      I have to say that out of all of the films in this series this happens to be one of my favorite ones. Sure the film is flawed like most others but for the budget I truly believe this is the best they could do. I would love to this with a bigger budget because even at this one it was still great and a cool take on........... well you will see. I watched this long ago when it was first released and was thanking the filmmakers because …
Quick Tip by . October 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This is a very entertaining film that is one of the better ones in the series of After Dark, maybe the best of the first year, maybe.
About the reviewer

Ranked #146
I've got my own site, www.afilmcritic.com, on which I'm posting my reviews. I am 46 years old, married 25 years, two kids (23 & 18) and currently work in accounting/finance. I spent 15 years … more
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The Hamiltons seem to be the picture-perfect American family. They are hardworking community members; giving to their local charities, attending town hall meetings and always respectful of their neighbors...except for the fact that they usually end up killing them.
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DVD Release Date: March 27, 2007
Runtime: 86 minutes
Studio: Lions Gate
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