Poltergeist – What a deception!
War of the Movies: 4.0/10
Directed by Gil Kenan
Released on May 22, 2015
Running Time: 93 minutes
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Kennedi Clements, Jared Harris
As a critic it’s essential to keep an open mind, even if you are going to see the remake of a classic! First and foremost it’s important to see a movie as its own before making any comparisons.
The problem with this new Poltergeist? It’s that without even comparing it with the original of 1982, it’s a deception. A modern family moves into a new house and try to make a new life. Slowly but surely, strange things happens; books and toys moves by themselves, their youngest child, a girl of six years old, begins to talk to nobody. After their youngest is taken by angry spirits, they called supernatural experts to get their daughter back. Many of those concepts were often used in the industry, but not wisely for this film! I’m not someone who gets scared easily with a horror movie, but I go see them with people that are. When even they don’t get scared, I know the movie didn’t deliver at all with the spooky parts. And that is what happened with Poltergeist! The film takes way too long to start and there is too much drama in comparison of the potentially scary parts. The director put too much focus on the fact that the father doesn’t have a job, but he doesn’t want his wife to find a job and help out so she can write her book. You hear them talking much too often about the topic during the 40 minutes it took before young Madison disappeared into her closet. That’s right, 40 minutes out of 90 for the whole movie, told you it took too long before it started! There are little weird things that’s happening before Maddie disappears in the closet, but not enough to scare or keep us captivated. And let’s not forget that the house is not only haunted by spirits, but it seems there is a moody teenage girl hunting the parents as well! The older daughter is in a mood where her character gets quickly on our nerves. Of course, she turns sweet, scared and attentive after her sister gets taken into God knows where, but before that, she’s a part of the movie that you could easily live without.
As for the acting, I was expecting better from Sam Rockwell. You just need to think about Seven Psychopaths to know how well he can act, but unfortunately he doesn’t deliver in this one. His character has too much problems for a horror movie, so that may be a reason why we may not think he acted to his full potential. Except for one, I think the two youngest kids where the best actors in the film! And the one and only exception would be Jared Harris, the wicked medium who comes to help the family. It would have been a good idea to have a story where he would have had more screen time, but unfortunately for us, the director chose otherwise!
A good point of the movie would be when someone (I’m not going to say who for those who’ll still watch it!) goes into the closet to get Maddie back. In the original, we see the head of a monster going out of the closet, and then the little girl and her mother, coming out of the floor. In the remake, you will see what happens inside the closet, which was a nice addition. Unfortunately, that part didn’t last as long as we would have like it to. Those where the parts that had me the most hooked, but not hooked long enough to give the film a nice review it seems! Also, I never understand in horror movies how the parents can never believe their children when they say something is wrong! Instead they say things like “There’s nothing to be afraid of, now who’s my superboy?!” Come on, you move into a new house and neighborhood, you put a kid in an unfinished attic, with a roof window that gives view on a creepy tree, of course he won’t like his new room!
As for those wondering who immediately compare a remake with the original, well if without any comparisons it’s a deception, you can image how bad you will find it! There are many similarities between the two films, for example many lines are the same, but instead of saying it in the kitchen around the table, the character will say it outside while doing her garden. The parents also have three kids, two girls and one boy. The house is still build on an ancient graveyard, the spirits are angry for the same reasons. And yes the TV is still an important part. But those similarities doesn’t help to save the movie. In the original, the father drank a lot, which was overall the only drama you’ll see, except for the disappearance of the daughter of course. It was much more focus on the angry spirits and how it played with those who were inside the house. The original was 2 hours long, but still time passes more quickly because it was better executed. Yes the remake has new technologies for the special effects, but those effects won’t help make disappear a bad scrip and acting.
Should you see it?
I’d say that if you are scare of clowns, then yes, you will not be spooked by what takes Madison into the closet, but by a creepy clown that runs around! Otherwise, I’ll say if you are looking for a scary movie, skip this one, it’s nowhere worth it.