I’m not normally a fan of remakes, but I have to admit that I actually enjoyed this film for a one time viewing – although not for the same reasons I loved the original poltergeist. Reimagined by Sam Raimi and Gil Kenan this film used modern technology in a positive and effective manner, but I still have to say this is a popcorn flick more than anything else and really only worth one view.
Due to the film being so different to the first poltergeist in style I will not be comparing it to the original, I would rather review it as a stand alone film because my opinions will stand out more that way. Poltergeist is about a family who move in to a new house which is built on top of a graveyard and haunted by a poltergeist, the youngest daughter in the family gets trapped in to a “spirit” realm. Realizing where their daughter is (a little faster than is realistic…) they call in an expert to get her back.
Jump scares are heavily used in this film, but that doesn’t make up for the awful writing and unnecessary plot fillers. Yes, jump scares used to make a fantastic horror film, but if I am honest they felt really gimmicky and useless to the plot – although a few could be justified. The worst part of the film is when the boy is scared of the toy clowns, you hear the footsteps of the clowns which would not happen if they had been moved by a poltergeist and doesn’t happen when the younger sister’s toy moves across the room. (this could be justified by childhood imagination). Admittedly the clown was quite scary so added to the cinematic experience although really did feel like an unnecessary plot filler.
There were not memorable or notable performances in this film, which is a shame because I really like Nicholas Braun and Sam Rockwell. This may be due to the characters written for the actors or lack of good direction, but I really did expect more from this film. It’s not that any of the performances were bad, just not worth a special mention. If I had to pick a best performance for this film it would be Jared Harris who played Dr John Farber, the character who knows how to get the girl out of the spirit realm.
On a more positive note there was a scene where the older daughter’s phone’s screen began to seize up and she could hear, what we can only assume, is the poltergeist. This was a fantastic use of the new technologies we have and the scene was great and really fit in to the whole style of the film, which was dark (which I guess is right up my street).
As far as story goes it was a great premise, but the character writing and dialogue really let the whole thing down. The film pretty much jumps right in to the action, which can be great but I really felt like they could have had more build up to the action for suspense purposes and character development. I guess part of my issue is that I didn’t know the characters well enough to feel sorry for them in their situation.
In conclusion, if you like popcorn flicks and jump scares this film is 100% up your street. If you like films with depth and appropriate suspense, you should probably stay clear.
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