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'Poltergeist': EW review

Posted on


Current Status:
In Season
93 minutes
Wide Release Date:
Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jane Adams, Jared Harris
Gil Kenan
Horror, Thriller

We gave it a B-

In the early ’80s, filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Texas Chain Saw Massacre auteur Tobe Hooper combined their very different talents to create the Hooper-directed Poltergeist, the tale of a suburban family bedeviled by supernatural forces. Now, more than three decades on, Sam Raimi, whose Ghost House Pictures company produced this remake, and director Gil Kenan (Monster House) have done the exact same thing. No, really, the 2015 Poltergeist is almost identical to the classic 1982 scare machine. Scary clown? Check. Scary tree? Check. Scary TV static? Checkity-check. Except, lacking the shock of the new, and the executing vision of the Spielberg-Hooper axis, these frights are not frightening at all. Poltergeist does benefit from briskness—it’s actually 20 minutes shorter than Hooper’s film—and there is a nice, Evil Dead 2-esque sequence involving a power drill. The film also has a winning cast, which includes Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt as the tormented parents attempting to rescue their supernaturally-trapped youngest kid (Kennedi Clements), and Jared Harris, whose rogue psychic investigator is one of the film’s few new-ish elements. But the only really frightening thing about the 2015 version of Poltergeist is how haunted it is by the original. B-