ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Poltergeist 2 (1986)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Brian Gibson

Starring:
Jobeth Williams/Diana
Craig T. Nelson/Steve
Heather O'Rourke/Carol Ann
Zelda Rubinstein/Tangina
PLOT-CRUNCH
The Freelings now live with Diane’s (Williams) mother. They’re almost broke and don’t own a TV (by choice). Things start going "screwy" again when a mysterious preacher named Kane (Beck) steps into the picture. He has a strong interest in Carol Ann (O Rourke) and is definitely not from the "living" world. They’re back!!!!
THE LOWDOWN
This sequel doesn’t come close to topping the original but it doesn’t deserve the horrible reputation it’s been getting for all these years. The film has many positive aspects.

The strong family unit "The Freelings" are all back (minus Dominique Dunne, see Bullseye) and I fell in love with them again, the chemistry is still there. The film walks it’s own twisted path instead of attempting to copy the original and even though the film has a different kind of story it still manages to capture the feel of the first. This sequel also has more "physical" entities (Kane, monsters) and a deeper "spiritual" flavor (Maybe it’s a bit too spiritual for it’s own good).

The character of Taylor (Sampson) brings a new perspective to the "ghost" phenomenon and much humor when it comes to his bantering with Steve (Nelson). I loved that whole relationship with Steve’s car thang…funny stuff!

Where the film weakens is that it explains too much and makes things a bit too complicated. A few characters wind up being psychic and the ghosts have a history that’s revealed. What was fun about the original is that the family were average Joe’s that we could relate too, making a few of them psychic kind of ruined it a bit. Knowing more about the ghosts does give way for extremely frightening scenes with Kane but also takes away from the pleasure of NOT knowing what’s going on and why.

My biggest complaint is the "light show" finale on the other side. It’s way too supernatural and I imagine that the Freeling’s will have to sit through therapy sessions for years after that event. The finale is corny, the main bad guy is defeated way too easily and for me it just didn’t work. It’s too out there.

The film loses the grasp on reality that the first one had and winds up all over the place but that doesn’t mean that’s it’s a turd. The film still offers strong performances, some great effects (loved the braces scene), some chilling moments, a "possession" segment that’s sure to chill your blood and some well handled humor. Lets give Poltergeist 2 a break…
GORE
Attack by braces, an ugly worm creature and a flying chainsaw. The movie has some over the top visual scenes that are sure to make a "latex fan’s" day.
ACTING
The whole family unit is on top of it again. Craig T Nelson is still a fun loving guy and he gets to play a bad guy at a certain point…fun. Heather O Rourke has more "acting" moments and is cute as button. Jobeth Williams (Diana) is one charming lady and she handles the emotional scenes perfectly. Oliver Robins (Robbie) plays off his "film" family very well. Zelda Rubinstein (Tangina) returns and although she does fine, the part is getting a bit old. Will Sampson (Taylor) is amazing as the fresh face on the scene and made me laugh many times. Julian Beck (Kane) has to be one of the scariest villain to ever grace the screen, his eyes, his voice…he’s just plain creepy.
T & A
Not a ghost of a chance.
DIRECTING
Gibson handles everything very well, giving us a visually intense show. Nice style, some slow motion and a wonderful use of lighting.
SOUNDTRACK
Jerry Goldsmith returns and the music is still on the money. The "Carol Ann theme" is there and we get an effective "Kane" score too…
BOTTOM LINE
On it’s own this film is a decent doze of ghostly fun with an excellent cast and a crappy ending. It has effective visual effects, nods to the first Poltergeist and lets see if you guys spot that "Alice In Wonderland" reference. It certainly isn’t as bad as people say and is well worth a look. They’re back and I’m happy they came.
BULL'S EYE
Will Sampson (Taylor) died of heart surgery complications in 1987.

Julian Beck (Kane) died during the shoot in 1985.

Notice the absence of Dominique Dunne who played the big sister in part 1. She was strangled to death by her boyfriend in 1982.

The Poltergeist curse continues…
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