The Poltergeist remake is the latest addition to a quickly expanding group of poor and unimaginative horror remakes. It's hard to look at any remake as a standalone film without making comparisons to the original. It would have been more exciting to see a sequel years on from the original, like The Town that Dreaded Sundown (2014) and Scream 4 (2010). Maybe we could have seen Carol Ann grown up with kids of her own and seeing the story develop in that way. But no, this 2015 remake regurgitates the exact same story from the first but in a contemporary setting.
Modern aspects add nothing to the film. Mobile phones, drones, and GPS systems are used and the only way they actually contribute to the story is that we get to see inside the other world as a camera is flown in on a drone. Do we really need to see what it looks like where the child goes? It just looked like a CGI zombie movie. Some things are better left to the imagination. We don't see inside in the original because we don't need to.
The original 1982 Poltergeist was written and produced by Steven Spielberg, and we can see that evidently in the qualities of the film. He describes E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (1982) as a suburban dream while Poltergeist (1982) was a suburban nightmare. We see a Reagan-era family growing up in American suburbs and it was probably easy to relate to that in 1982. The 2015 film fails to possess these same qualities as we see the struggling family move into a really big house. All of the character are difficult to engage with from the beginning.
On the topic of qualities, there is some pretty poor CGI in the original, but it adds a sense of charm to it and makes it feel like an 80's classic. This obviously cannot be reproduced in the remake, but the CGI in place was just boring and annoying. This is going to be a problem with the new Ghostbusters film if it ever happens. On top of all this, jokes are recycled from the original film, and that might generate a laugh or two, but it still offers nothing new. It relies heavily on jump scares to make the film seem scary, but it only made it feel like a Blumhouse film.
The evidence of lazy writing and general film making is so clear throughout this film. The original can't be surpassed so why bother making a remake? It's a lazy method of generating money for movie studios. Original films like It Follows and Unfriended have been released this year and that's really exciting to see, but the Poltergeist remake is a setback for the horror genre. If anything good can come from it, remakes might stop getting made. Revisit the original at home instead of wasting your money on this film.
Oh, and a blue flatscreen has nothing on a static television set, but I guess that epitomizes this remake.