Latest Entertainment News Headlines

Review: Poltergeist

Poltergeist
05.22.2015
6 10

PLOT: A family's new suburban home is haunted by nefarious spirits – or poltergeists – that take the family's youngest daughter to a parallel dimension she's unable to escape from.

REVIEW: All things considered, this remake of POLTERGEIST isn't that bad. At least, it's certainly not as bad as you'd think given the fact that the press screenings were only held at the eleventh hour. Let's face it – remaking POLTERGEIST is a terrible idea. While the sequels were all pretty bad, the 1982 original (directed by Tobe Hooper – although Hollywood lore suggests Steven Spielberg had a very active role beyond what his producer credit suggests) is a total classic. If you grew up in the eighties – or heck even in the nineties – POLTERGEIST was probably one of the first horror movies you ever saw. It's the classic gateway horror flick for kids. With movies like INSIDIOUS and THE CONJURING owing so much to POLTERGEIST, what's the point of a remake beyond name recognition?

While I still think the film shouldn't have been made, as far as remakes go this isn't half-bad. While the story is faithful enough to the original that it it never feels like it's own thing, at least it has energy, thanks mainly to director Gil Kenan (MONSTER HOUSE) who's probably too talented to be wasted on a half-assed remake. Still, he makes the most of it. He's not given the freedom to do much with the material, but at least it moves fast running a lean ninety minutes, meaning that whatever it is it's never boring.

The filmmakers do try to shake things up a bit, but the changes to the formula are minor, with the result only being that both parents are sidelined. Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt have a lot less to work with here than Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams did. The mom role is especially affected. In the original she was a real heroine, but here she does absolutely nothing, and a really mean dig at her gentle son early on hits a real sour note. Rockwell doesn't fare any better, handling clumsy exposition and not much else. In short, DeWitt and Rockwell – while both extremely talented actors – don't feel like actual parents here. There's no authenticity to the performances. That said, the script is probably more to blame than they are.

However, one change they've made to the original formula is actually quite inspired. Probably sensing that it would be too difficult to get anyone who could compare to the late Zelda Rubinstein, the part has been re-imagined into a roguish paranormal investigator played by the charismatic Jared Harris. His scenes opposite Jane Adams (playing the Beatrice Straight part) are excellent, with them sharing some history and having effective banter. They could have really just used the POLTERGEIST name and spun those two off without copying the original and they would have probably been better off. It feels like a missed opportunity as they're so much more memorable than anyone else. As for the children, the two younger kids are fine although the teen-aged daughter is really poorly conceived, being portrayed as an over-the-top brat you'll actively be rooting against.

In the end, POLTERGEIST is just another remake that's not a patch on the original, but there are parts of it that work well enough and at least it's fast moving and well-directed. As far as big studio PG-13 horror movies go this is better than average, rating this a very marginal recommendation.

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Source: JoBlo.com

RECOMMENDED MOVIE NEWS

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

+0
5:30PM on 06/30/2015
WTF way too kind, this deserves a big fat zero. Pure utter garbage.
WTF way too kind, this deserves a big fat zero. Pure utter garbage.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
3:14AM on 05/23/2015
Pass, what made the original scary is that it didn't rely on cheap jump scares. It was scary even for a PG rated movie, which no doubt would have been PG-13 today or even R.
Pass, what made the original scary is that it didn't rely on cheap jump scares. It was scary even for a PG rated movie, which no doubt would have been PG-13 today or even R.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:06AM on 05/24/2015
Actually the original was supposed to get an R (they even used REAL skeletons instead of props due to budget restraints)

But Steven Spielberg had so much clout with Hollywood at the time that he was able to talk the rating board into giving it a PG calling the violence "comical and not realistic in any sense".
Actually the original was supposed to get an R (they even used REAL skeletons instead of props due to budget restraints)

But Steven Spielberg had so much clout with Hollywood at the time that he was able to talk the rating board into giving it a PG calling the violence "comical and not realistic in any sense".
+0
2:09AM on 05/23/2015
Another soulless and pointless remake. Just all around lame with stupid jump scares and unlikable characters.
Another soulless and pointless remake. Just all around lame with stupid jump scares and unlikable characters.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
4:24PM on 05/22/2015

Ugh, I am going to pass.

My main question is: DOES HE DANCE?! Sam Rockwell has it in his contract that he gets at least one dance scene in EVERY movie.
My main question is: DOES HE DANCE?! Sam Rockwell has it in his contract that he gets at least one dance scene in EVERY movie.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
4:16PM on 05/22/2015
The "paranormal investigator" was probably inspired by Roddy McDowall's character in Fright Night.
The "paranormal investigator" was probably inspired by Roddy McDowall's character in Fright Night.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
4:23PM on 05/22/2015
You do know Poltergeist came out a few years BEFORE Fright Night, right? Your statement makes no sense.
You do know Poltergeist came out a few years BEFORE Fright Night, right? Your statement makes no sense.
-1
2:59PM on 05/22/2015

What is with all the surprise outrage is over this one of many recent horror movie remakes?

It's not like Hollywood hasn't been remaking scary films over the last decade?
Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Evil Dead, The Omen, Frankenstein, Dracula, Psycho, just to name a few. Halloween was one of the top horror movies which should never be remade, but it was. If Hollywood is going to allow Halloween to be remade, then I was not going to be the least bit surprised with a Poltergeist remake. I love the original Poltergeist, with a
It's not like Hollywood hasn't been remaking scary films over the last decade?
Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Evil Dead, The Omen, Frankenstein, Dracula, Psycho, just to name a few. Halloween was one of the top horror movies which should never be remade, but it was. If Hollywood is going to allow Halloween to be remade, then I was not going to be the least bit surprised with a Poltergeist remake. I love the original Poltergeist, with a passion! Spielberg's story and imagination truly breaths visual life in the original film. How come a classic film like Poltergeist is off limits with everyone unlike the classic John Carpenter Halloween? Poltergeist (which was one of the "please leave alone films") has been in the works for years now.
This remake of Poltergeist does have me intrigued enough to go see it. Unlike the Halloween remake which went way over the top with it's kill count and need to ruin the mystery of the villain, Poltergeist refrained from being just another ordinary horror film using nothing but blood and torture effects for scares. So far this remake looks like it may follow a similar scare-tatic formula as the original did, but with more and bigger scares which is expected. I don't expect the remake to have the heart and love or the creepy Jerry Goldsmith score as the original film had, but based on what I've seen so far I'll see it!
Also, stop with the "They're RUINING my childhood" bullshit! No they're not! If your childhood is forever ruined by a newly released film, then you must not of had much a childhood to ruin. You still have the original Poltergeist to own and watch on Blu ray. If your worried that this remake will ruin modern day horror movies, your too late cause they been ruin for almost a decade now.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
11:10AM on 05/22/2015

eh

I'm pretty much past the 'why do they keep RUINING my childhood' phase of all this remake/reboot/cover version crap. Hollywood isn't making these movies for me. I'll always have the originals, Poltergeist being a personal favorite of mine. I have the excellent blu-ray release, and I"ll be grabbing the 2nd & 3rd when they're released on a two-pack next month. I might see this new version on Netflix at some point, and when I do, I'll either like it as it stands or dislike it. No big thing.
I'm pretty much past the 'why do they keep RUINING my childhood' phase of all this remake/reboot/cover version crap. Hollywood isn't making these movies for me. I'll always have the originals, Poltergeist being a personal favorite of mine. I have the excellent blu-ray release, and I"ll be grabbing the 2nd & 3rd when they're released on a two-pack next month. I might see this new version on Netflix at some point, and when I do, I'll either like it as it stands or dislike it. No big thing.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:46AM on 05/22/2015

I'm confused about this one...

I don't really get it.

There's about 50 million ghost and haunted house stories in the world, so I don't really understand why there was a need to remake this one, or any one for that matter.

Not wild about the casting of Rockwell as the father either. The original had a kind of "big lug" for the head of the family. A type of guy who would never even consider such things as ghosts or other flights of fancy, who was grounded in the reality of providing for his family. That's what made
I don't really get it.

There's about 50 million ghost and haunted house stories in the world, so I don't really understand why there was a need to remake this one, or any one for that matter.

Not wild about the casting of Rockwell as the father either. The original had a kind of "big lug" for the head of the family. A type of guy who would never even consider such things as ghosts or other flights of fancy, who was grounded in the reality of providing for his family. That's what made his confrontation with the paranormal so interesting. Rockwell is a bit too hipster doofus-ish to play this kind of role, and changing the role would remove a great element in the film.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:04PM on 05/22/2015
i think you answered your own question.

in a world with 50 million ghost and haunted house stories, brand recognition is important. how does this crappy haunted house movie stand out from the pack? it has a recognizable name.
i think you answered your own question.

in a world with 50 million ghost and haunted house stories, brand recognition is important. how does this crappy haunted house movie stand out from the pack? it has a recognizable name.
1:46PM on 05/22/2015
I watched the original with my eyes closed thinking to myself "Mr. Incredible is going to beat up these ghosts."
I watched the original with my eyes closed thinking to myself "Mr. Incredible is going to beat up these ghosts."
9:37AM on 05/22/2015

When remaking an acknowledged classic,

"not half bad" is really not good enough.
"not half bad" is really not good enough.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
1:41PM on 05/22/2015
Cause they already did with Halloween (the remake was disgraceful).
I will say out of all the recent scary movie remakes, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Evil Dead, The Omen, just to name a few. This remake of Poltergeist does have me intrigued enough to go see it.
Let's face facts, it's not going to be anywhere as great as the original. Not a chance in hell! But it could be decent.
Cause they already did with Halloween (the remake was disgraceful).
I will say out of all the recent scary movie remakes, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Evil Dead, The Omen, just to name a few. This remake of Poltergeist does have me intrigued enough to go see it.
Let's face facts, it's not going to be anywhere as great as the original. Not a chance in hell! But it could be decent.
6:16AM on 05/22/2015
"In the end, POLTERGEIST is just another remake that's not a patch on the original" - yeah, I thought so. But still 6 / 10 is better than I originally expected (4 / 10) so I might give this a rent when it comes out on Blu Ray.
"In the end, POLTERGEIST is just another remake that's not a patch on the original" - yeah, I thought so. But still 6 / 10 is better than I originally expected (4 / 10) so I might give this a rent when it comes out on Blu Ray.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+5
5:10AM on 05/22/2015

Screw anyone who pays for this movie.

This is a classic example of RENT THE ORIGINAL. A movie that didn't need a remake and where the remake didn't do anything significantly different with the story to warrant the upgraded visual effects. Send a message to Hollywood. Rent or buy the original.
This is a classic example of RENT THE ORIGINAL. A movie that didn't need a remake and where the remake didn't do anything significantly different with the story to warrant the upgraded visual effects. Send a message to Hollywood. Rent or buy the original.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
1:31AM on 05/22/2015
Glad to read the somewhat good review. It's not like it was ever going to match or surpass the original; but if it's at least entertaining while trying to put it's own spin on it, then that sounds good to me.
Glad to read the somewhat good review. It's not like it was ever going to match or surpass the original; but if it's at least entertaining while trying to put it's own spin on it, then that sounds good to me.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
1:20AM on 05/22/2015
idk why people are dropping on this movie. Sure everyone complains when they remake a movie, but this one didnt look so bad. Even the original wasn't that great. It has mostly nostalgic value to it. Im not into horror movies, but i wouldnt mind sitting through this one if i had to. From your review it sounds like it turned out exactly what i expected from the trailer, unnecessary, but not terrible.

and for everyone ripping on all these remakes and sequels. just remember, this is the 6th
idk why people are dropping on this movie. Sure everyone complains when they remake a movie, but this one didnt look so bad. Even the original wasn't that great. It has mostly nostalgic value to it. Im not into horror movies, but i wouldnt mind sitting through this one if i had to. From your review it sounds like it turned out exactly what i expected from the trailer, unnecessary, but not terrible.

and for everyone ripping on all these remakes and sequels. just remember, this is the 6th horror film to come out this year, and the first to be a remake (although the forgettable Woman in Black 2 was a sequel to a remake). Sequels and Remakes make the most money, so studios advertise them the most. They aren't being made at a faster rate this year than any other year, you just notice them more because the studio wants you to notice them. Of the hundreds of movies that come out every year, still only a small percentage are sequels, remakes, and reboots.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
3:49AM on 05/22/2015
i would like to add to all those that are complaining about remakes in Hollywood... try supporting the horror flicks that arent remakes, you have to actually SEEK them out in the art house theaters.. they arent going to play in wide release, they might wind up on Netflix, Hulu or whatever but they ARE out there... you just have to find them and go watch them.
i would like to add to all those that are complaining about remakes in Hollywood... try supporting the horror flicks that arent remakes, you have to actually SEEK them out in the art house theaters.. they arent going to play in wide release, they might wind up on Netflix, Hulu or whatever but they ARE out there... you just have to find them and go watch them.
6:17AM on 05/22/2015
That's a good point you made, Mckracken. Last good horror movies I saw were Honeymoon and Babadook. Both movies should have had a much wider theater show.
That's a good point you made, Mckracken. Last good horror movies I saw were Honeymoon and Babadook. Both movies should have had a much wider theater show.
12:07PM on 05/22/2015
people seemed to really like "It Follows" which was a box office success making $17 million on a $2 million budget. And "Unfriended" made $42 million on a $1 million dollar budget.

The last horror remakes before this one were "Carrie", which except for the acting, wasn't that great. But also in 2013 was the "Evil Dead" remake and everyone loved that movie.

remake/reboot are not dirty words. There are a lot of good remakes and a lot of good remakes and very few movies too sacred to
people seemed to really like "It Follows" which was a box office success making $17 million on a $2 million budget. And "Unfriended" made $42 million on a $1 million dollar budget.

The last horror remakes before this one were "Carrie", which except for the acting, wasn't that great. But also in 2013 was the "Evil Dead" remake and everyone loved that movie.

remake/reboot are not dirty words. There are a lot of good remakes and a lot of good remakes and very few movies too sacred to revive. Studios want to make these because they are cheap and make money. These are the kind of movies that help finance other smaller movies.
View All Comments

Latest Entertainment News Headlines


Top
Loading...

Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting