After moving into a new suburban neighborhood, a family discovers that their house is acting strange and when the youngest daughter is 'taken' by an angry group of spirits, they must travel onto the 'other side' to retrieve her.
2015's remake of the classic horror film 'Poltergeist' had a pretty easy job, it had to take the story of the original and update it to modern times to make it feel fresh. The remake does adapt the story for a modern audience, the problem is, it's just not very entertaining.
Sam Rockwell (Moon) and Rosemarie Dewitt (The Watch) along with their three children move to a new neighborhood due to the father being laid off from his job, the mother is an aspiring author who stays at home with the children. The three kids are your basic horror characters, the quiet one who knows something is wrong, the ignorant teenager and the child who makes contact with the spirits. Rockwell and Dewitt do a good job in their roles, but as the movie progressed, their characters really became weak, as did the performances.
Gil Kenan best known for his animated haunted house flick Monster House adapts the classic horror film for a contemporary audience and you can see that he's trying. The film is off to a good start, the small teases of a dark spirit surrounding the house whilst the family settle into their new home was fun and sometimes quite creepy but after a while it became repetitive, the spirits using electronics around the house became quite tedious and by the big finale, you'll find it hard not be bored already and the low level CGI that bombards the final act couldn't have been a bigger turn off.
The original Tobe Hooper/Steven Spielberg directed film did a much better job with its characters, the relationship between the children and their parents in this film feels forced, I didn't sense a real connection between any of them. These characters are also infuriatingly stupid, they'll often make decisions that make no sense at all, especially when the action starts to happen.
When young Madison is taken into the realm of the spirits, the sense of grief or panic wasn't portrayed well at all. In fact just a couple of scenes later when Madison is still stuck on 'the other side', some characters find time to laugh and be happy, which was conflicting to what their characters were actually going through.
The film becomes especially ridiculous when a group of paranormal investigators come to look at the Poltergeist. One of them claims that the family may be lying to get some publicity, even though minutes ago he witnessed a chair get fired against a wall by an invisible entity. Jared Harris plays the wacky, Irish ghost hunter and it's obvious he was having fun with his role, but he feels completely out of place.
A convention of horror that I'm really growing tired of is the young child being friendly with a spirit. I don't know about you, but if I heard a creepy voice coming from my closet, I wouldn't be talking to it.
Perhaps Poltergeist's biggest crime is that it's just not scary, some of the jump scares were more funny than frightening, especially when the very bad CGI came into play. One of the most laughable scenes involves the son in the family being dragged through the house by a CGI tree.
The remake does nothing new in terms of story, in 1982 this story will have felt fresh, but by 2015 we've seen so many possession horror films that this one feels a bit too stale. The film only really adapts itself in terms of the technology that we see our characters use.
Poltergeist isn't without it's benefits, there are a couple of good scenes, one including a creepy clown doll. And Sam Rockwell offers some good humor towards the beginning of the film and gives a good performance for most of the time, but unfortunately neither of those aspects are worth admission price.
Poltergeist (2015) doesn't get under your skin, it won't make you jump and it certainly won't give you anything more than the original. This remake isn't worth your time.
Have you seen Poltergeist? If so, what did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @JamesPorter97