There is nothing scarier in modern cinema than a remake of a classic horror. They scream lack of originality within the genre and for the most part, are totally unnecessary. When I first heard the news that the 1982 horror classic Poltergeist was getting a remake, I was left thinking “Here we go again”.
Did it deliver on the promise of a ‘terrifying new vision’ as in the poster above? No.
This version of Poltergeist is pretty bad and while it certainly feels that director Gil Kenan is a fan of the original, you can’t watch it and think that they are trying to do anything different to give this film its own identity.
When the Bowen family move into a new house, strange goings on begin to occur. They are being visited by poltergeists and after their youngest daughter is taken captive, they must find a way to get her back. A revelation regarding the land their house stands on starts a race against time to find their daughter before they lose her forever.
The main problem Poltergeist faces is that, for a horror film, it isn’t even remotely scary. The reason being that we have seen it all before, and it was done a lot better back then as well. For instance, we know the clown attack is coming so they might as well have tried to make it something new entirely oh, and it was stupidly shown in the trailer, instantly taking away any impact the scene could have had.
Unfortunately, this is another case of loud noises and predictable jumps that the genre of horror has become. There is barely any atmosphere and when they manage to create an ounce of atmosphere it is soon interrupted by the scare tactics that have really cheapened the horror genre.
There are some genuinely good performances on show, particularly from the young Kyle Catlett as Griffin Bowen who is sadly the only character to show any development throughout the film. I would be lying if I said I didn’t find Jared Harris’ hammy turn as Carrigan Burke, the man brought in to help rescue Madison Bowen entertaining however, they nearly make the mistake of having him become comic relief. I was kind of disappointed with Sam Rockwell though as he just didn’t seem interested at any point.
The film descends into a CGI-laden finale that makes it feel like you are watching a kid play a really bad video game. Even with the advances made in special effects, sometimes you just can’t beat the old-school use of practical effects. I saw Poltergeist in 3D and, as in most cases, it offered nothing to the final product.
Whatever the next horror Hollywood decides to remake is, I hope they genuinely try and take it in a different direction and not just a carbon copy of the original. In fact, what are the chances that in ten years we will be seeing another remake of Poltergeist, this time all in CGI… oh the horror.