Poltergeist Movie Review
Written by TGM
Released by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Gil Kenan
Written by David Lindsay-Abaire, Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais & Mark Victor
2015, 94 minutes, Rated PG-13
Digital HD released on September 4th, 2015 | Blu-ray and DVD released on September 29th, 2015
Sam Rockwell as Eric Bowen
Rosemarie DeWitt as Amy Bowen
Saxon Sharbino as Kendra Bowen
Kyle Catlett as Griffin Bowen
Kennedi Clements as Madison Bowen
Jared Harris as Carrigan Burke
Jane Adams as Dr. Brooke Powell
Let me start off by saying I'm not one of those elitist twats who instantaneously loathes and subsequently immediately dismisses remakes as the red headed step-child of cinema. Regardless of what some hipster cinemaphile might tell you, the very existence of a remake does absolutely nothing to tarnish or belittle the beloved original. In fact, a remake, be it good or bad, can only serve to educate a younger, dumber generation who might very well be ignorant to the very existence of a good movie made way back in the dark ages of film, say pre-1998.
With that said, if you're going to spend the time and money producing a remake, you best attempt to bring something new to the table, otherwise what's the fucking point? Some of the best and most highly regarded remakes – Cronenberg's The Fly, Carpenter's The Thing, Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Soderbergh's Ocean's 11, Scorcese's Cape Fear, De Palma's Scarface – all attempt to provide a different take on the original. They're not just regurgitated plots with updated CGI starring the en vogue vapid Abercrombie & Fitch heartthrob of the moment. Remember, if you continuously make a photocopy of a photocopy, eventually it's going to be degraded to the point of faded and pixelated worthlessness.
Which leads us to the 2015 version of Poltergeist, a remake that apparently holds the source material in such high regard that it dares not deviate from it. The only significant difference is that the little girl is now a mousy brunette as opposed to rocking that funky Edgar Winter hairdo. And not that Heather O'Rourke (R.I.P.) was a master thespian by any means, but this new girl fails to capture any of O'Rourke's creepy delivery. Unarguably the most famous catch phrase from the movie, "They're heeeeere!" was originally uttered with such spooky fervor that it immediately sent shivers down your spine. Yet in this bland interpretation, our little tormented scamp delivers the same line like she's announcing the arrival of her grandmother who forces her to file down corns on her feet for 25 cents. Everything about this particular offering of Poltergeist comes across as so rushed and formulaic that you can easily envision the production team holding clipboards with a checklist of things that they wanted to make sure immediately made it into the film without any logical buildup or anticipation to the point where it is downright laughable. OMG, spooky tree, CHECK! Ooh, scary clown doll, CHECK! Oh no you didn't!, staticky television, CHECK! OK, great... grand... wonderful! so NOW what do we do for the next 75 minutes?
There is a marginally interesting scene that attempts something somewhat novel where they send an iPad-controlled drone into the nether-realm in search of the missing girl (no I'm not going to spoiler that part, because, again, it's just like the original, so fuck you) until you realize from personal experience that if I can't get decent Wifi on an iPad while dropping a deuce in my upstairs bathroom, how is anyone able to successfully fly a drone through an inter-dimensional wormhole in a tunnel lined with gnashing evil spirits? BUT I HAD THREE BARS! And there is only one true moment of pure terror in Poltergeist involving a power drill which unfortunately goes by faster than my first sexual experience (thank you Father) and ultimately culminates into a listless limp of a whimper without any satisfying payoff whatsoever. I would, however, be lying if I said I didn't get a hearty chuckle when the apathetic parents (played by Sam Rockwell and the “sorry but you're nowhere near as MILFy hot as JoBeth Williams” Rosemarie DeWitt) decide that the slightly older carrot-topped brother (who is almost immediately shown to be a big pussy and afraid of his own shadow) would be juuuust fine having his room up in the dingy half-finished attic. I'd like to believe that they sat him down before moving in to their new home and said, “Sorry kid, second floor is for people with souls, you damned dirty ginger.”
Look, Poltergeist is an uninspired and unnecessary remake of a borderline horror classic. You'd be better served watching the original. Nay, you'd be better served finding a dogeared, coffee-cup stained VHS case of the original and staring at that for 94 minutes.
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