Poltergeist – 2015
It’s tricky to judge a film on it’s merits alone, when it’s a remake of a classic, especially when it clings so closely to the original’s apron strings. Being a modern retake of Stephen Spielberg’s and Tobe Hooper’s terrifying 1982 spook fest, Poltergeist has a lot to live up to. With little known director Gil Kenan at the helm and a real mixed bag of actors, Poltergeist feels like it’s swimming up stream from the start.
I’m not going to beat about the bush, this film sucks! It’s pretty terrible. But my issue with the film really stems from the fact that it missed a huge opportunity to be something special. Recently laid off Eric (Sam Rockwell) and Amy Bowen (Rosemarie DeWitt) are a couple looking to buy a house for themselves and their three children. However some angry spirits decide to kidnap the youngest daughter, Madison, and the family, along with TV psychic Carrigan Burke (Jared Harris), try to save her. From the start, the film reveals the big plot point from the original, that the graves were moved from an old cemetery in order to build the towns communities houses. And here lies the big missed opportunity. This film could have been the start of a new series of films. This town could have been the one from the original, and a new family tormented by the spirits. Instead, the film tries to tell the same story, just in a far worse way.
Let’s start with the cast. There are three children in the film, Kendra (Saxon Sharbino), Griffin (Kyle Catlett), and youngest daughter Madison (Kennedi Clements). None of them shine, in fact, I found the youngest two to be downright annoying. Thier performances were awkward and unnatural, and they had way too much screen time over anyone else. Poor Sam Rockwell ‘s performance here is just shameful. We know that he can act, so the blame here lies heavily on direction and script. But seriously, Eric does not seemed to be slightly worried about the entire scenario. House is haunted? Ok, no worries! Daughter Kidnapped by ghosts? Sure thing..no problem! Worse than Rockwell, is the inclusion of Jared Harris, as our replacemnet for fan favorite psychic Tangina. Jarrid’s performance is rushed and forced. I never connected with him, nor did I ever really feel that this man could help the family. In fact, everything felt too pre-planned. Without any haunting activity seen on screen, Carrigan Burke announces that the house is haunted by lots of spirits and that he knows how to save her, within minutes of entering the home.
The entire films is just rushed and leaves little time for any character or plot building. What’s worse is how they decided to take the best scenes from the original and just butcher them. Lets take the clown for instance. The original takes time to build the gag. We’ve seen the clown, we know that Robbie is frightened of it and when the clown suddenly does come to life, it males perfect sense that the spirits would use it to get to him. In the new film, the clown just randomly comes to life and attacks Griffin. He was never particularly worried about it, nor the tree when it attacks him. It just comes to life because it did in the original.
Everything that this film does, can only be comparable to the original. And it it does it worse each time. The script is terrible, the cast awful and the scares and spirits are just not scary. If the film had tried to be it’s own film, kit might have had a chance of doing something different and special. As it tried so hard to be like the original, it fails to be anything but a pale shadow. Even when I try to look at the film as a stand alone point of view, it felt rushed and boring. If you have yet to see this film. Give it a miss!
- Overall Score 12% 12%