Having lost his job at John Deere, Eric Bowen (Sam Rockwell) has relocated his family to a new housing development. His wife, Amy (Rosemarie DeWitt), oldest daughter Kendra (Saxon Sharbino), son Griffin (Kyle Catlett) and youngest daughter Madison (Kennedi Clements) begin adjusting to the new house, but Griffin has some doubts. He's been incredibly fearful of everything since being left alone at a mall, and he fears his new house.
One night Griffin sees Madison talking to a static-filled television, and she tells him, "they're here," and hand prints appear on the television. Then he starts seeing scary things, but no one listens to him. Then the kids are left alone in the house, and the spirits lash out, taking Madison into their world.
Not being able to go to the police, Eric turns to a paranormal research team led by Brooke Powell (Jane Adams), who suggests bringing in renowned paranormal specialist (and reality show host) Carrigan Burke (Jared Harris) to bring Madison back to the real world and cast out the evil spirits living inside the house.
Back in 1982, Tobe Hooper graced audiences with "Poltergeist," a surprisingly PG-rated ghost story that struck fear in the hearts of everyone who saw it. Everything about the film was pitch perfect, from the acting, effects, and story. It's heralded today as one of horror's most enduring masterpieces.
And then, they decided to remake it.
There are very few times I enjoyed a remake as much as the original ("Dawn of the Dead" immediately comes to mind where I did), and "Poltergeist" is no exception. There's no magic to the film, no endearing qualities, nothing that the original had which made it so exceptional.
Let's look at the several issues I had with this film:
-no matter how well Kennedi Clements (in her first role, she did really well), she can never fill the shoes of the late Heather O'Rourke
-there was no sense of dread or danger felt by the family. After Madison is taken, they almost act jovial with jokes, smiles and laughter. It's like she was at a sleepover instead of near death
-there is absolutely no chemistry between any of the actors, and you really don't care for their outcomes
-they tried to take the "Ghost Adventures" path by bringing in a reality show TV host who investigates haunted places
-aforementioned person is nowhere near the awesomeness Zelda Rubinstein brought to the original, and his performance was campy and flat
-speaking of performances, Sam Rockwell in particular didn't even seem to care about the film, and it was clear that he phoned in his performance
-did I mention there was absolutely no soul to the film? It seemed like it was a remake for the sake of being a remake
-there was no iconic pool scene with real skeletons, but instead there was a cheap CGI effect instead
-speaking of cheap CGI, all of it in this film looked like something you'd see in some SyFy Original
-the son Griffin was one of the most annoying kids I've seen in any horror film; loud, whiny, and absolutely unlikable
Now it's time to discuss what was right with the remake:
The clown was kinda freaky. But if you saw the trailer, you saw the scariest part.
Taking everything that made the original film so endearing, the horrid remake of "Poltergeist" decided to bury all of it in the backyard and instead pretend it never happened.
The Score: C+