Poltergeist Review

The Plot

After a family moves into a home that sits on a former cemetery, they soon become haunted by evil forces and must come together to save their youngest daughter when she’s taken captive.

The Good

Remaking a horror film as classic as Poltergeist was always going to be an idea which would provoke some worry. Released 33 years after the original, this remake does a perfectly fine job at updating it for modern audiences. The original story is still there, but with the addition of drones and a reality show ghost hunter in the form of Jared Harris to help things move along.

Thankfully it’s not a complete shot for shot remake and does actually try to bring something new to the story. One prime example being that when the family do start to take notice of the strange activities going on in their new not so humble abode, they start to work to get rid of it instantly, as apposed to, say, using your child as an experiment/plaything for the poltergeist (see the original for more…). With a plot that runs 20 minutes shorter, Poltergeist somehow manages to cram in more activity in than it’s predecessor. Though perhaps this might not have been the right way to go about it…

The Bad

Unfortunately it’s impossible to view Poltergeist without instantly bringing comparisons to the original, and because of this, it falls short. While it’s certainly brave of director Gil Kenan (Monster House) and writer David Lindsay-Abaire (Oz the Great and Powerful) to go a different way, the fact is that this remake barely constitutes a horror. Where the terror of the original came from the slow burning threat which is eventually paid off, this new version only manages to shock with the use of cheap jump scares.

The cast too don’t seem to be very invested or confident with the idea of it either. Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt make for simple and uninteresting characters that seem bored with the script. Meanwhile the biggest highlight of the child actors is Kennedi Clements (whose biggest previous credit includes Jingle All The Way 2…) and this is only really because she’s the unfortunate child who gets taken in by the ghouls.

The Ugly Truth

Poltergeist should be respected slightly for not trying too hard to stay exactly like it’s original and instead trying to bring something new to a classic. However all attempts that are made are scuppered by cheap jump scares and a bored script.

Review by Johnny Ellis

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