Poltergeist (2015)

Poltergeist (2015)


They know what scares you.

The Evil Dead director Sam Raimi presents a modern take on the 1982 suburban frightfest Poltergeist, with Gil Kenan (Monster House) directing. Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt star as the Bowens, a couple whose youngest daughter is abducted by terrifying apparitions.

Flicks Review

A remake of the Steven Spielberg-produced domestic horror classic from 1982 could quite reasonably have suffered from a case of the 'John Carters'. Which is to say, it's based on source material that has been so influential, any new adaptation would undoubtedly be cursed by a sense of over familiarity.... More

And when you look at how determined director Gil Kenan has been to evoke a Spielbergian tone in his prior films Monster House and City of Ember, a slavish devotion to the original Poltergeist could certainly have been expected.

But thankfully, by zeroing in the the parts of the original that none of the imitators have been able to successfully replicate, Kenan and his collaborators (which includes producer Sam Raimi) have created a big screen horror experience with a lot of fresh appeal.

The thrills and chills are fine and spectacular, but it's the casually authentic family dynamic that really sells the dread here. The convincingly laconic leads Rosemarie DeWitt and Sam Rockwell help enormously in this regard.

Plus Kenan keeps the bland domestic setting contained to claustrophobic effect, which helps it seem creepy in a way that houses only seemed when you were a kid.

Although the predominantly terrible nature of every other '80s horror remake is probably enhancing my perception of this one, it nevertheless stands as a hearty reminder of how much more effective a film like this can be when you actually care about the characters.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 13 ratings, 10 reviews
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BY KTurner superstar

This movie started out with the right stuff, a family moving into a new home, the youngest daughter having conversations with someone or something no one else can see and hand prints appearing on the other side of the TV screen. There were a few moments of terror for the audience.... BUT then it just gets silly and because of this the terror immediately vanishes. Had the potential to be great but it fell desperately short. Also the term poltergeist means ghost or supernatural being that is... More responsible for physical disturbances.... it was more of a bunch of child thieves that wanted to leave this world.Hide

I caught Poltergeist at the preview and I was thoroughly entertained by the upgrade. Clearly, there are those who question the remake. I, however, liked the story without the Spielberg/80s baggage. Sam Rockwell was great.

I really enjoyed the original Poltergeist but this one wasn't scary at all. Worth watching but not as good as I had expected it to be.

BY JackWallace superstar

I've never seen the original 1982 Poltergeist, but this is just plain terrible. The Bowen family (Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Saxon Sharbino, Kyle Catlett and Kennedi Clements) move into a suburban home that turns out to be haunted by evil spirits.

Why does almost every new horror movie released have to be so dumb and boring? First of all, it's not scary, not even remotely. If you find loud noises and squirrels jumping out of closets terrifying, I couldn't recommend the Poltergeist remake... More to you more. Kyle Catlett and Kennedi Clements play the two youngest Bowen siblings, Griffin and Madison, and their acting was so bloody awful, I almost threw up.

It's like the child actors' roles were written for adults. Whenever Catlett tries to say lines like "I just want my sister back" or "We don't want a reality TV show" in a serious voice, it comes across as laughably bad and cringey. Sam Rockwell is an incredibly talented actor. He's the best thing about this garbage and deserves to star in a much better film. Avoid.Hide

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The Press Reviews

34% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • A disappointingly tame and unimaginative effort, which throws away much of what was best-loved about the original and fails to find worthy replacements. Full Review

  • Very tame, but saved from the remake scrapheap by Sam Rockwell's surprisingly touching performance and a final reel that - briefly - takes the material somewhere new. Full Review

  • Not only delivers on the promise of Hooper's Poltergeist, but significantly raises the stakes for similar PG-13 fare. Full Review

  • This has more in common with slick, audience-goosing modern spookers like 'Insidious' than with Hooper & Spielberg's imaginative original. Full Review

  • An act of homage that hews reverently to its source material while missing the essential spirit and vitality that once powered it. Full Review

  • It’s a shame Kenan can’t muster his own bit of gothic shorthand for post-credit crunch America, but the film still has a fluid, 3D-orientated immediacy. Full Review

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