Movie Review: Poltergeist


Stars: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jared Harris, Kennedi Clements, Kyle Catlett, Saxon Sharbino, Jane Adams, Susan Heyward, Nicholas Braun

Rated PG-13 for intense frightening sequences, brief suggestive material, and some language,93 minutes, Thriller/Horror

Compare to: The Amityville Horror (2005), Fright Night (2011)

I don’t care that there’s no originality in Hollywood anymore. I really don’t. Everything has been done and if it hasn’t, it looks almost exactly like that one thing from that one time. My problem isn’t that the newest Horror movie is a remake of a film that wasn’t begging to be remade, my problem is that when I watch it, I see just about nothing to say “That was awesome!” And this is a problem since a movie should impress me. I’m not even asking for perfection.

The best I hope for at this point is to be impressed by certain effects and laugh at a couple intentionally funny moments. Poltergeist 2015 does this but I don’t get why we don’t go all out when they remake this stuff.

It doesn’t take long after the Bowen’s move into their new home that they find the daughter has made new friends that only she can see. It takes even less time for the heads of the house, Eric and Amy, to figure out that their house is being haunted by angry spirits that want their youngest daughter.

"That's the waaay we became the 'fraidy bunch!"

“That’s the waaaay we became the ‘fraidy bunch!”

You know exactly what it’s about because nothing has really changed from the original, save for the Taste the Rainbow lady being replaced by Jared Harris. Sam Rockwell is in it too and being one of my top 5 actors (Lucky him), he doesn’t disappoint; there’s just only so much to work with. At an hour and thirty minute run time, you’re not quite bored by the movie, just rushed. The humor in the film works with who they’ve cast but occasionally just feels like there’s no reason to feel concerned for the family and their ghost house much of the film focuses on the regularity of the family.

One positive thing about this movie is that nobody really annoyed me as a character. With all the Horror stereotypes we’ve got here being that it was based on a movie from the 80s and they didn’t bother changing much, you’d think the child actors or at least the perpetually annoyed teenage daughter would get on your nerves. But no, not really. That really is a big thing given that so many movies rely on the creepiness of the kids yet all they do is give the kid a bowl cut and have him look like you like he’s pretending to be a bad guy from Avatar The Last Airbender. Or something.

And that’s the best sort of compliment I can give. It’s not the greatest thing to say about a movie and it’s certainly not the worst. I just felt like “Sure.” when I was watching it. No risks were taken, nothing is really altered.

One scene in particular that had a cool look to it was the [SPOILERS, KIND OF] other dimension with the trapped spirits in it. It seemed like they took a page out of Dante’s Inferno for that one and it contained some visuals we rarely see in film. New and exciting? Not really. But it’s one of the only moments the movie throws at you that doesn’t make you feel like…well, like you’re watching the first one. [END SPOILERS]

And I know they do this for the money. Clearly. These people have jobs and Poltergeist is a known name to make some quick cash off of. But if it doesn’t really matter anyway (and it doesn’t), why not change some things up and do your own thing with it? I’m not pointing fingers at any one person either, it seemed like a team effort to band together and say “We will take NO chances!” And what Superman Returns was for comic book movies, The 2015 Poltergeist can now be for Horror.

"Say the line already, stupid!"

“Say the line already, stupid!”

Positives: Good cast, doesn’t bore you, some cool effects and not so annoying kids- a rare commodity in film. People looking for a thriller that doesn’t take things too far should appreciate this. This movie has Sam Rockwell in it.

Negatives: Average, average, average. You’ve seen this movie if you’ve seen a movie where a family moves into a house that they shouldn’t have moved into. Too short to be scared.

Grade: C


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