It’s Memorial Day weekend gang and you know what that means. Right, a horror movie…or maybe you weren’t thinking that at all. Well while most of the public is out celebrating by grilling and toasting those they remember, this reviewer is hitting the theater for more reviews. This review we take a stroll down remake lane as we hit Poltergeist, the first scare movie of the summer. Can the remake live up to the classic? Let’s find out.
From the trailers, Poltergeist promises some terrifying moments in the dark that hold promise for making you fear what bumps in the night. This movie will not disappoint, as it provides a setting that indeed can bring some tingles to your spine. At first the setting of the house offers little threat, a few incidents happening in the day time might make you jump, but for the most part offer a safe relief from the terrors at hand. Once night hits and the power conveniently goes out, that is where the audience begins to jump. Poltergeist plays off one’s fear of the dark, using the shadows to build anticipation, suspense, and terror at what our invisible “friends” have in store. It’s creepy, the camera work and sound editing making you feel abandoned in the house aside from kids who aren’t necessarily equipped to bust ghosts. Aside from the dark, the design team has crafted some haunting dolls that are perhaps the scariest part with their soulless eyes and smiles. The creeps aren’t the only ploy they have in their bag though. Poltergeist also has plenty jump at you moments, where things suddenly jump out at you after the predictable build up. .
The story of this movie is also not too bad, essentially being the same movie with up to date graphics and a slight “romantic” twist. Is there anything new? One is some new scare ploy, primarily the clowns that were not in the 80’s version, that kind of work. Second is the integrating modern technology as a media for the ghosts to use such as iphones and ipads that are generation is accustomed too. Third is the increase in special effects that help bring the horror to life, though sometimes the effects are cheesy and overflashy. Unfortunately these things aren’t the most realistic looking and the 3-D perspective is really unnecessary and added very little to the tale.
So let’s talk negatives of this Poltergeist. For one thing there isn’t a lot of originality to this film. It’s always great in theory to retell a classic tale, but some unique twists are often required to make the film worthwhile. This installment didn’t have much of that, and while the graphics were more impressive, it really didn’t add the edge I was hoping to see. The modern technology was cool, and the clowns were scary, but HBO could do the same thing and saved us the trouble of stale popcorn. In addition the scares weren’t as terrifying as I had hoped. Yes I like creepy, but the cheesiness of some of the scares offset that factor and actually made it more a loud, light show than actual terror. In terms of acting, it wasn’t half bad, but wasn’t connected to the characters in this film. The mom and dad were okay in this film, a little too depressed and inconsistent for my tastes, and the oldest daughter was just annoying to me. Looking at the paranormal team, they were okay as well, but I held no loyalty to most of them, and found them rather unnecessary for most of the movie. Even the ghosts lost the edge they held in the first rendition, becoming nothing more than a collection of CGI sprites, instead of being lead by the entity known as the Beast. The exception to the lackluster characters might be the two youngest kids, the boy in particular being the person I took the most interest in. He kept the group together and kept the plot going for most of the movie as he tried to uncover the terror within. Without the tie to the family in this film, I wasn’t quite at the edge of my seat as I had hoped to be.
Poltergeist is certainly a decent remake that sticks to the original plot and scare tactics that you remember. Despite the superficial scare factor of this movie, I can’t really recommend a trip to theater for this one. After all with little originality, some overdone special effects, and a lack of suspense there isn’t much to lure you into the theater on this one.
Overall my scores are:
Movie Overall: 6.0