In the past, I never thought “Poltergeist” needed a remake. The 1982 film seemed sufficient to me, and I think it may just be the best PG horror film ever made. But when they announced Sam Rockwell was part of this new version, my curiosity was peaked. I thought, maybe with today’s technology this could end up being a lot of fun.
And it was at first. I was totally into it. The set up was more creepy than the original and I was ready for the crazy ride they were setting up. But then it fell flat — like a rollercoaster taking you straight up only to level out at the top, shooting you along a straight rail at 25 mph, with only a slight curve or two till the end.
Unlike its predecessor, there’s no real setup, especially when it comes to the characters. It comes in at 93 min, and they tried to jam a lot into it.It would have been beneficial to maybe add 10 minutes to the film to set up the family dynamic. Instead, it was so rushed that at the point the daughter disappeared, it almost seemed like no one really cared.
Now my biggest concern, and let me step up on my soapbox here for a moment, is Ghost House Pictures just doesn’t know how to make a good horror film. Look it up. They lucked out early on with “The Grudge,” but they’ve been making bad movies ever since. They seem to believe that in the horror genre, more equals scarier. They want you to see what is making that bumping sound in the night. Ghost House needs to take a look at what Blumhouse Productions is doing — the people behind “The Conjuring” and “Insidious.” What the audience can imagine going bump is scarier than actually seeing a ghost on screen. Ghost House doesn’t know when to edit themselves. They end up cramming so much onto the screen that there’s nothing left to be afraid of. And, the CG is so bad you can’t even call it eye candy.
Before the film started I heard some people talking about how because Sam Raimi produced it, so it was going be great. Well guess what, Sam Raimi is overrated. There I said it. He made one decent movie in his career and people now think he is the king of horror. But I’ll stop there. I could go on forever about this but I’ll hop off the soapbox for now.
Do I think this movie will find an audience? Yes. Especially the younger generation unfamiliar with the original. And to be fair, I watched the original with a group of people a few years ago and it didn’t really hold up to today’s horror standards. In the 80’s though it was awesome.
So here is my recommendation. If you love the original, don’t bother with the remake. If you’ve never seen the original, I’ll just say I didn’t hate this remake, but it missed so many great opportunities. This is really a case of squandered potential.