Poltergeist – 1.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

poltergeistPoltergeist – 1.5/5 – Expectations; it is something that can sway an opinion one way or the other.  The outcome of any kind of entertainment can differ with expectations set (high or low).  I don’t follow this trend of setting an expected ‘bar’.  There are two things I aim for; to be entertained and if a movie is billed in a particular genre; it must deliver on that premise. Billed as a ‘horror’ film, this remake of a classic film is something of an eerie complexion.   In the end, Poltergeist doesn’t completely execute and eventually falls flat in the end.

Premise: A family moves into a new suburban home.  Little do they know, the house is haunted by evil forces.  They must come together as a family, before all is lost in the end.

The acting in this film is what you’d expect from any typical ‘modern day’ horror.  With the ‘aloof’ feeling you have come to expect, the archetypes of horror are here:

The family being haunted

The paranormal expert and crew

If you want to see who’s in the cast, you can check out the IMDB page.   There are some notable names (Sam Rockwell; Jared Harris) along with some new blood (Kennedi Clements, Rosemarie DeWitt).  The actors/actresses provide some semblance of real people, but as a whole, they don’t do enough to sway from the obvious caricatures they portray.  The blatant attempt in forced scares drowns out suspense, as they don’t do enough to create a believability factor in the terror to be had.   With some iconic roles within this film, the actors/actresses never amount to anything other than ‘one-dimensional’ characters.  Even when they try to sway in being ‘comical’ or ‘serious’; it just comes off real gimmicky.

The direction (as well as story) can be broken into two halves:

First half: Setup/premise of story.  Modern day horror elements (jump scares, sounds and inanimate object sounds) build slow tension.  Confrontation with paranormal element; experts contacted

Second half: ‘Bait/switch’ tactics (for added entertainment).  Thriller elements with overused CGI, predictable climax leading to a ‘ho hum’ ending.

Being a remake, there is the obvious ‘backbone’ script used to build upon within this retelling.  If you have ever seen the original, it follows that film to the tee.  You have a family that moves into a new home for a new start.  As they settle in, there is something eerie about the new house, as ‘something’ is off within the land it was built on.  As the family begins to experience ‘hauntings’, they have an inevitable paranormal confrontation that leads to a family member being taken to another plane.  The direction never tires to break from the original story, as you see no subtlety within the ‘horror’ tactics in this film.  These overused elements dull the ‘horror’ sensation that could have been built up throughout the first half.  It is obvious where the scares will come from, lacking any real tension from the ‘others’.  It seems more like ‘smokescreen’ to hide the basic script.  When a horror film doesn’t ‘scare’; all the other aspect of the film taints the experience.  The glaring cliché foreshadowing setups and cheesy one-liners add to the hollowness of the film.  Once we get past this first half, it becomes obvious (for the audience, director and actors), that there is nothing to salvage.  As the second half progresses, there is a change up to some of the ‘unforgettable’ moments from the original, as the director lambasts what they were in trying to use thrilling methods to engage the audience.  You have an ‘overused’ CGI spectacle of the paranormal world, a ‘race against time’ thread and forced plot ‘twist’.  The film also churns out side stories that don’t even matter.  This ‘forced’ side story creates a convoluted mess, adding more fuel to the fire of an anti-climatic ending.  Once the film’s climax and epilogue comes, you are left with an empty feeling of what this film could have been.

The visuals are nothing to scream amazing over.  Another aspect of the film is the ‘forced’ attempt to create the ‘other world’.  The CGI is a distraction as it never adds any worth to the film.  The score is also not worth noting.

Poltergeist, while potential is there, fails on a lot of fronts as a horror film.  Notwithstanding the obvious comparison to the classic; this film never does what it is suppose to do, scare you death.  I only recommend to those who want to think otherwise, there isn’t anything here that hasn’t been before.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *