Review: POLTERGEIST (2015)


When the announcement of a POLTERGEIST remake hit the internet, it was next to impossible to ignore the cries and groans from friends/acquaintances who were absolutely livid at the thought of one of horror’s classics being given the dreaded redux. Never letting that sway my interest in giving everything a fair shake, I decided to go for it and gave my hard earned money to my local cinema and…was it the worst thing ever, like so many fans crying “foul” predicted it to be? No. With that being said, was it the best thing ever? Nope,not even close. There have been worse remakes of horror royalty in recent years..*cough* NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET *cough*,but let’s face it…you fright fanatics work hard for your money, and well, I decided to sacrifice a small part of my weekend to watch it, so you don’t have to.

Tobe Hooper (or Steven Spielberg)’s original POLTERGEIST is a horror film that still holds up to this day. It was equal parts chilling, entertaining and like most, I consider it a sacred and classic film in the horror genre. This was the film that caused a large portion of my generation to have some of the worst nightmares imaginable. That alone already sets the bar pretty high in terms of giving said classic a modern day remake. For something like that to work, the remake would have to be one impressive piece of film. While similar at times, POLTERGEIST (2015) seemed to have a completely different tone from the original movie. Where as the original film had an almost effortless creepiness about it, this Gil Kenan-helmed entry seems to focus a little more on personal relationships that don’t really matter asmuch as the ones in the original had. Although it was apparent that the plot tried to be a little different from the original (changing Carol Ann to Maddy, and giving the parents a different background story). The “playing in the same universe as the original” approach ends up at times being a bit TOO similar to the original, but unfortunately lacking the elements that made the original such a memorable classic. One part of Kenan’s update that DOES offer a fresh breath, is his choice in the actors involved. Instead of Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams, this time we get the always entertaining Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt. Both do a great job at portraying characters somewhat similar to those in the original film, but without completely emulating them, instead deciding to add a personal touch to the characters.

Those performances, unfortunately, aren’t quite enough to save the audience from a slow start, and ultimately an uneventful climax this time around. It’s a film that while not being dreadfully bad, is just filled with quite a few dull moments, with scares that would be expected in a horror film being scarce, and making the film quite forgettable.

Although I don’t recommend stopping whatever you are doing right now to run to the theater to check this out, it may be worth a watch if it ever lands on Netflix. When you have an original that is as amazing, and still holds up over thirty years later, it can be pretty hard to justify the need for it to be made again. With that being said, POLTERGEIST (2015) shouldn’t really be a thing. I understand the idea of trying to introduce a younger generation to horror, by rebooting films and attempting to appeal to a modern world, but I can guarantee any youngsters who find themselves getting into the genre will choose the original over the remake in a heartbeat. As for POLTERGEIST (1982) fans, seeing this film kind of feels like seeing a mediocre cover band paying tribute to your favorite musical artist in a bar. You try to get into it and appreciate the effort, but you really just want them to hurry up because it is somehow making you sad, so you just want to drink heavily and leave. Luckily, as soon as you leave the bar you have already forgotten about the band attempting to play your jams, and there will be no hurt feelings.

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