The popular practice of remaking movies, all kinda of movies, has proven to be more than a fad. That’s unfortunate. There doesn’t seem to be movie that modern filmmakers won’t try to remake. The horror genre has been particularly fond of this fairly unoriginal practice. “Halloween”, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, and “Friday the 13th” are just some to receive a modern (and inferior) redo. So why not “Poltergeist”?
Normally I would automatically dismiss a movie like this but several things intrigued me, namely an interesting trailer, Sam Raimi’s attachment as co-producer, and the casting of the always likable Sam Rockwell. Unfortunately the movie itself isn’t nearly as intriguing as the trailer. Raimi’s fingerprints are nowhere to be found. Rockwell feels terribly out of place.
After losing his job Eric (Rockwell) and wife Amy (Rosemarie DeWitt) are forced to move their three children to a more affordable home. Unfortunately they pick a housing development built on an old cemetery. Talk about a terrible idea. Soon the family begins to notice a series a spooky occurances, many linked to the house’s lights and electronics. Obviously in the age of flat screens, tablets, and iPhones that is a bad thing.
But things get dramatically worse and even more unexplainable. Unable to go to the cops, the family seeks help from paranormal specialists who discover the house is haunted by angry and violent poltergeists. The bumps come more often, the screams get louder, and ultimately the danger escalates as Eric and Amy try to protect and save their children.
Minus a couple of the performances, there is nothing inherently awful about “Poltergeist”. But at the same time there is nothing new, unique, or innovative to make it stand out from the run-of-the-mill horror flicks we get by the dozens. In fact its greatest sin may be its blandness. Much like the majority of the modern PG-13 horror flicks, “Poltergeist” plays it safe and depends on too many traditional and predictable scares. I never jumped, squirmed, or was caught off guard.
So I’m left with a question I have asked numerous times. Why did we need a “Poltergeist” remake? This version is very swift and easy to watch. It has some good moments and there are a few fun nostalgic winks. But it doesn’t do anything new or exciting. It follows the same tired blueprint and fails to capitalize on its potential. Even though it’s not a bad movie, it’s not one that you will ever remember past its first viewing. That’s a shame.
VERDICT – 2.5 STARS
I have no interest in seeing this despite its cast. Besides, this feels like a total waste of time in comparison to the original.
Your feeling bugs are pretty spot-on. It’s pretty pointless overall and there isn’t one single thing that will stick with you over time.
I agree with you about it only being weak as a remake and about Sam Rockwell (I didn’t like his performance). Did you, like me, like it more than POLTERGEIST 2 & 3? And how did you feel about the change of the psychic? Both versions of the character are VERY different.
To be honest I only faintly remember Poltergeist 2 and I’m not sure if I ever bothered with part 3. If I have seen it I don’t remember a single thing about it.
Exactly. It’s not awful, just completely pointless and pales in comparison to a number of haunted house flicks from this era, as well as the original. The only thing it improves on from that movie is the special fx.
Yep, the effects are better but nothing else is. And it will leave absolutely no lasting effect. Completely forgettable.
I saw this a year ago. I didn’t mind it, but the scares were minimal, if nonexistent. I actually found this fairly entertaining as a family movie, but not so much a horror. It was just there.
I think I wrote this review about a year ago (just now getting around to posting it). For me it has had absolutely no lasting effect on me. Bland and forgettable.
Truthfully, I never saw the original Poltergeist until after I saw the remake. I don’t hate the remake, it has it’s draws and drawbacks. Jared Harris is always fun to watch regardless, but the film was just…bland. The original film is infinitely superior, with a better cast and better special effects which were far more convincing.
Bland is the ideal word. Not a horrible movie, but one that simply didn’t need to be made in my opinion.
Yeah, this sounded like it was just flat. I will still likely check it out at some stage for stupid popcorn entertainment, and Sam Rockwell, of course. Great write up Keith!
Thanks Zoe! It’s not terrible. It is competently made and hasn’t any major sore spots. But unfortunately you’ll forget about it as soon as the end credits begin.
It really does feel like there are no original ideas anymore.
True, true, true
Ok well this review settles it then. I will never watch this. Too much time wasted these days on watches that are just “okay.” Time is precious Keith! 🙂
So true bro. And frankly I’m getting a bit tired of these “okay” horror flicks. The genre desperately needs a swift kick in the butt. At least The Conjuring is doing things right.
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