Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review: Poltergeist

Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
This remake of Tobe Hooper's well received and popular 1982 film of the same name is, much like other horror reboots of this type, probably unnecessary. But it is, for the most part, a competently made and occasionally scary horror film, even if it adds little to the original story, other than changing the little girl's name from Carol Anne to Maddy and switching out the character of Tangina (Zelda Rubinstein) for TV show host and spiritualist Carrigan Burke (Jared Harris).

The new version pretty much follows the events of the original - a family (Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt and their three kids) moves into a new home that is, unbeknownst to them, on top of a burial ground and spooky things start happening, including young Maddy (Kennedi Clements) being kidnapped by the titular ghosts lurking in the house's shadows.

There are certainly some creepy moments in the film - middle brother Griffin (Kyle Catlett) discovering a closet full of sinister looking dolls, a large tree limb smacking on the glass ceiling window of Griffin's room and Maddy's closet opening and closing on its own.

There's not much in the way of characterization - Rockwell is out of work following a layoff, while DeWitt's mother is a struggling author, whom we never see write a word - and the filmmakers often rely on the generic jump scares that now populate genre films of this type.

That being said, there's a certain technical competency to the visuals and the special effects are actually pretty good for a mid-level horror movie of this sort. Famous lines of dialogue from the original are repeated here - some to maximum effect (Harris' "this house is clean" is presented as more of a joke), while others feel a bit unnecessarily included ("they're here" isn't quite as creepy this time around).

Writing about a movie such as the updated "Poltergeist" presents somewhat of a challenge. There's not much to say that hasn't already been said about the 1982 version, which is certainly better than this one. The 2015 remake is slightly better than your average horror movie, about on-par with your average summer movie and able to please those who like knowing exactly what they'll get out of a moviegoing experience.

While I wouldn't go as far as recommending it, the film is decent enough as far as horror films go and it's definitely better than some of the other unnecessary remakes of horror classics, such as the abominable reboots of "Evil Dead," "The Hills Have Eyes," "Last House on the Left," "Black Christmas" or "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

No comments:

Post a Comment