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An entertaining oddity, “Amelia’s Children” doesn’t quite overcome its many flaws, but it still manages to be a movie that must be seen.

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Amelia’s Children is a strange movie.

Edward’s (Carlotta Cotta) girlfriend Riley (Brigette Lundy-Paine, Bob’s Burgers) gets him a digital DNA test kit for his birthday. He soon learns he has a twin brother (also played by Cotta) and mother (Anabela Moreira) living in Portugal. When the couple goes to visit them, they learn about his new family’s horrible secret.

After an opening that explains why the brothers have lived apart for three decades, the film moves to (supposedly) New York City. This is where Amelia’s Children will lose a lot of people.

It is usual for movies to be shot in one location while taking place in another, but it is very egregious here. New York looks suspiciously like Eastern Europe, adding an unintended layer of humor that never really goes away.

It is more silly than anything else and does not affect the overall quality of Amelia’s Children, but it is also a precursor of things to come.

The film, written and directed by , takes itself very seriously; there is nothing campy about it at all.

Yet, it is constantly straddling the line between comedy and terror. Make no mistake about it; this is not a horror version of The Room. It just manages to grab the audience in ways it never intended to.

The biggest example is the relationship between Edward and his newfound family. Every interaction is supposed to be shocking and add more tension, and each scene somehow manages to be more hilarious, culminating in a theoretically sensual all-day dance session.

The odd thing about Amelia’s Children is not that it never manages to reach “so bad it’s good” status.

In fact, much of it is genuinely good.

There is some bad writing, to be sure, but this is a fun little horror movie. There are plenty of strong indications early on what direction the plot will be taking, but the addition of witchcraft, torture, and some great imagery will keep audiences on edge.

The most striking feature is some effective make-up.

Age and beauty are central to the story of Amelia’s Children. There are a few reminders throughout the film — photos being the most obvious — but the effects really stand out from their first introduction. It is used to scare and disgust the viewer and works every time.

Surprisingly, the film places much of its focus on Riley; she is the one who discovers what is really going on and is at the center of every reveal.

Amelia and her children are the source, and Edward is the catalyst for them going to Portugal, but Riley is the star of the picture. This is a wise choice as she is far more interesting to spend long periods of time with.

The best part of the movie is its final scene.

The story is rife for a twist ending, and the film does a great job of making anyone watching wondering exactly what it will be. It is a great moment that is incredibly satisfying.

The strange combination of repetitive writing, great moments of terror, and inadvertent comedy make for a worthwhile watch.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 3
Amelia’s Children releases in theaters and VOD on March 1st. Listen to what else we had to say on this week’s episode of the Adventures in Movies podcast.

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