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I laughed for hours and hours and hours, tears streaming down my face, urine soaking up my nether region when I heard that they were going to remake the Tobe Hooper and incognito Steven Spielberg directed ghost classic POLTERGEIST (1982). Why the endless chuckles? Because in my useless opinion, there are films you can’t touch, even in this day and age of a remake a month routine and POLTERGEIST is one of them. The idea of remaking POLTERGEIST is a case of David and Goliath but in this version David is stomped into ashes by Goliath (same would go with anybody STUPID enough to remake THE EXORCIST BTW).
I did feel a pinch of hope when I heard that director GIL KENAN (Monster House) didn’t want to make a straight remake but more of a reboot that would exist in the same universe as the original, kind of like what the EVIL DEAD remake pulled off. But then the trailers hit and I realized that Kenan was full of baloney-pony – it was gonna be a straight remake (even with the characters' names changed and the verbal reference to the OG happening a long time ago) that hit all of the same notes yet “differently”. Now keep in mind that these thoughts come from a dude who grew up and to this day worships the original POLTERGEIST. I can only come at this updated dub from that perspective. Can't deal with that? Close the window and move on to surfing porn! So what did I think? To put it bluntly: the POLTERGEIST redux wound up being EXACTLY what I feared it would be – a complete waste of my time. But before I bitch slap the film, allow me to give credit where credit is due.
This update pimped out some stand out camera work at the hands of DP Javier Aguirresarobe! He wowed me a couple of times here with his wild cam moves, especially in the first 40 minutes or so of the movie! Eye popping was the word! Kudos brah (yes brah, live with it)! The flick also smartly integrated today’s technology into the storyline (electricity was a prominent aspect here) and it worked in its favor at times. I also got one expansion on the original that I thought was pretty cool. Here, we got to travel on the "other side”. I won’t spoil how we went there, but I found it sly to say the least. Characters wise, although depth was on the low jive I genuinely enjoyed Sam Rockwell’s sarcastic and cynical showcase and Kyle Catlett was brilliant as young Robbie, ummm, sorry, I mean young Griffon. In fact the bulk of the actors here were pretty on the money (even though Kennedi Clements’ rendition of the famous “they’re here” line was delivered in an odd down beat way just for the sakes of being different from the OG) – likeable and convincing –it was the one-dimensional character development/moves on paper (like the family under-reacting when losing little Madison among other instances) that played against them.
Alas, at the end of the evisceration, the POLTERGEIST remake wound being pointless and soulless. It reeked of being a product as opposed to a film; one that couldn’t come up with a story and fear bits of its own hence it had to lift them off a 1982 classic. The chain of events was so rushed here that I didn’t have the time to give a shit. There was no momentum to hold on to, no build ups and little payoffs. The exposition was given to us in a lazy/who cares fashion while the key scare scenes from the original were repeated, changed up and spit out as if they were jolted down on a check-list that the filmmakers needed to cross off till the bottom in order to get their paychecks (note: the tree scene was so throwaway it wasn’t funny…wow). Moreover; we’re in 2015, technology has advanced so much that their special effects looked worse here than in 1982. Now don’t get me wrong, the original has some dated effects (like the dude ripping his face off), but the ghost stepping up to Jobeth Williams bit ALONE beats out every CGI concoction that was found in this copy and paste opus. And as the last act kicked in and everything but the kitchen (f*ck the sink) was tossed at us, I realized that the people behind this update had ZERO clue as to why the original worked so well in the first place: meaty character development, organic humor/relationships, even build-ups, potent payoffs, intelligence and a genuineness about it all. None of that was found here.
I was actually going to skip this one, being that our man ERIC W had already reviewed it and I was working on something outside the site. But I had time to kill this evening and went against my initial instinct… MY BAD! If you’re 13 years old and a horror cherry have a blast! If not… well, the f*ck I know! I’m not Crom all mighty. All I know for certain is that I will forget I saw this off the assembly line Egg McCrap in 5,4,3,2,1…FORGOTTEN!