I love horror films. I don’t think that’s something that will strike any long-time readers of The Film Site as surprising. I review a lot of them, and a lot of them happen to be low-budget horror from Full Moon Features. If that makes you believe I have a tolerant expectation of horror films, then you haven’t read the reviews. I bash them all the time, and the reason I can keep coming back to them is this – when horror films are bad, they’re usually very bad, but when they’re good, they are like nothing else. Poltergeist is a remake of the eighties’ classic, and I didn’t really have any expectations for it. I don’t necessarily like remakes or reboots, or anything else, at least if I feel like the storyline doesn’t have the means to accomplish anything new. For example, I want the Stephen King’s It remake because I think the character has a lot more to say for itself, but I didn’t want them to remake Carrie because there wasn’t really anything else to be done without completely changing the character, and if you’re going to do that, why not just make a new one entirely?
Poltergeist is a 2015 American 3D horror film directed by Gil Kenan, written by David Lindsay-Abaire and produced by Sam Raimi. The film stars Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jared Harris, and Jane Adams. The cast is capable, as you can see. I like Sam Rockwell for his work in Seven Psychopaths and I think he might very well have been the most entertaining aspect about the film.
Poltergeist was never exactly the best storyline in the world, even in 1982, and a lot of why it was received so well was because of the stylish decisions done to the film’s benefit. Such as the child’s hand on the television and the one-liners that followed. If you actually take the time to look at it, you’ll notice how paper-thin the subject-matter actually is revealed to be, and that’s okay, because in a lot of ways, horror films are most unnerving when there’s strong cinematography and inspired visuals backing it, the minimalist approach and less-is-more attitude leaves more to the imagination, and for a lot of films, that works.
This rendition of Poltergeist isn’t very good.
The storyline is done with a cheesiness that leaves scenes more laughable than anything else, and although it does offer some scares, a lot of them are also cheaply done and don’t really have any lasting effects other than the initial fright. The acting itself isn’t laughable, but it isn’t exactly the best. I think it looks like the actors were being contained and brought down by a weakly written script. I always feel peculiar about child actors, because they can’t ever really convey anything too insightful or in-depth, and you can’t really expect them to, but I do think their dialogue was written a little too “cutesy” and it took away from any of the tension the film was meaning to build. The entire storyline with the investigator’s television show was cheesy, and the fact that the oldest daughter become starstruck and silly while her littlest sister was trapped inside of a television set took away. But they made certain to show us a scene of her crying later on to remind us the severity of the situation.
This will sound bizarre as well, but I also hated the lighting and film on this one. Every film about supernatural phenomenons look exactly alike now. Annabelle, Insidious, and Poltergeist all look like they could be spin-offs of each-other. They look like a loosely different storyline with the exact same coat of paint and it bothers me because most of the time it feels like I am watching the same goddamn movie. Oh, and the 3D added absolutely nothing.
In the end, Poltergeist is a bad film. I can’t really think of any reason to recommend it to anybody, but I always imagine my recommendation doesn’t mean a WHOLE lot and that you’ve already made your decision on whether you want to see it. I don’t blame you, but I would recommend entering with little expectation.
Thanks for reading…