The Hamiltons (2006)
By: Devon B. on August 29, 2013 | Comments
Accent | Region 4, PAL | 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 83 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Directors: The Butcher Brothers
Starring: Cory Knauf, Samuel Child, Joseph McKelheer, Mackenzie Firgens
Screenplay: The Butcher Brothers, Adam Weis
Country: USA
It seems that even decades later filmmakers have not learned from the mistake of Howling III: The Marsupials. There's a film within a film in Howling III, and it's used as an opportunity to make fun of hokey werewolf movies. Then later in the film the "real" werewolves turn up and look almost as bad as the joke ones. In The Hamiltons there's also a film within a film which is the flipside of that Howling III coin where a character is so terrified by the movie she asks for it to be turned off, but it is such a chintzy lookin' thing it's inconceivable someone would be scared of it. The movie snippet was included as an inside joke, but it's a really bad idea to mock cheap horror movies if the actual movie isn't that much better, and an especially bad move if the gag movie looks more entertaining than the real film.

In the real film, the Hamiltons are a family struggling to get by after their parents die. The eldest tries to keep the environment stable, but that's hard to do when the family likes to abduct women and keep them prisoner in the basement. The youngest son has qualms with his family's way of life, and isn't sure that he wants to let things continue on as they are. Kind of like a suburban take on The Hills Have Eyes but with the focus shifted to daughter that doesn't want to kill people anymore.

The Hamiltons is a tricky one because it can be aptly summed up with a one sentence comparison to another movie, but to use that reference would be a spoiler for both The Hamiltons and the other film. So I guess I'll just say it's a low budget knock off of a genre classic with a few added elements. One of those elements is pretty different, but to even slightly describe that would also be a spoiler, so I'll be vague and say I wasn't that interested in the resolution of the story. The synopsis on the back of the box does blow the surprise on this element, so potential viewers should beware of reading it.

Accent has released The Hamiltons about six months after the release of its sequel, The Thompsons. Potential viewers should also avoid looking that one up because even just the tagline will spoil The Hamiltons. When I say spoil, I mean people will know exactly where the movie's headed, but I'm not sure that would spoil the film because it's just not that engaging, so what is there to spoil? The acting leaves a bit to be desired and the film is not gritty enough to compete with things like Snowtown. In the end The Hamiltons probably shouldn't really be compared with that sort of film, but that was what I kept thinking for most of The Hamiltons' run time. The budget and acting quality stop The Hamiltons from creating a disturbing atmosphere, but after financial constraints are taken into consideration the movie does seem well made given its limitations.

The sequel's trailer makes the second film look like it's much better made than the first movie, so I'd assume things improve in the next instalment, but this one is just another generic low budget horror flick.
The Disc
The Hamiltons looks pretty cheap with video haze/noise frequently present. This would be to do with the source more than the transfer, so the only real flaw in the transfer that I noticed were a few artefacts. The audio is dialogue heavy and not complexly designed, and there are some set sound issues. Again these would all be issues with the source, not the transfer. The extras are dozens of trailers including the film's and the sequel's, about 7 ½ minutes of deleted scenes and a commentary. The commentary is with the Butcher Brothers and one of the actors. It's fine, but given I wasn't that in to the film I also wasn't too interested in information about its making. At one point they say some people have mistakenly thought the film was shot on 35mm, which I found hard to believe.
The Verdict
I'm sure there's a target audience for The Hamiltons but I'm definitely not it. The Butcher Brothers have made a mostly competent feature which is an achievement, but that doesn't mean I'd ever watch it again.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
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