Movie Name: Poltergeist
Release Date(s): May 22, 2015
MPAA Rating: PG-13
The Bowen family has fallen on tough times. Eric (Sam Rockwell) is out of work and his wife Amy (Rosemarie DeWitt) is supporting the family as it is forced to move. With their children Kendra (Saxon Sharbino), Griffin (Kyle Catlett), and their youngest daughter Madison (Kennedi Clements), the Bowen think they have found a great deal on a house. After moving in, strange things begin to happen as something seems to be trying to contact them from the other side. When Madison is captured by the spirits, the family must join together with researcher Dr. Brooke Powell (Jane Adams) and TV host Carrigan Burke (Jared Harris) to find and rescue Madison before it is too late.
Directed by Gil Kenan, Poltergeist is a remake of the 1982 horror film written by Stephen Spielberg and directed by Toby Hooper. The movie received poor reviews but had a strong showing at the box office.
Poltergeist is a classic and often listed as people’s “scariest movie”. Seeing it as a kid, it was terrifying and shows how far “PG” movies have changed since then. The original Poltergeist pushed the limits. This Poltergeist just showed laziness in its attempt.
The original Poltergeist’s tagline was “It knows what scares you”…and it got that right. It tapped into people’s real fears and did it subtly and realistically. This Poltergeist is in your face. An example is the clown. The first clown was terrifying. Here, the makers said if one clown was scary, let’s make more…it just comes off as desperate. Sure it fixes things like not having them stay in the house while they get ready to move, but it doesn’t matter because the whole film feels unnecessary.
It is too bad because the cast isn’t that bad. The film also makes the story more of a family affair with all the characters more involved. This was always a strange part of the original movie, but realistic. Here, the oldest daughter doesn’t just disappear for most of the movie and the son is an active participant in Madison’s rescue. The acting is fine, but the story is weak.
Visually, the movie also fails. The suped-up nature of the story lends itself to bigger and better special effects, but they just aren’t as terrifying. Another nice thing about the original was that the characters lived in the real world with real toys (like Star Wars). It made it more identifiable than the generic world of this Poltergeist.
Poltergeist isn’t a very good movie nor is it so bad that it is good. The movie just flounders and leaves you wishing you were watching the original. With a strong box-office showing a sequel to Poltergeist wouldn’t surprise me. With pretty weak sequels to the original film, it actually could be an improvement.
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