Director: Gil Kenan
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Saxon Sharbino, Jared Harris
A still from 'Poltergeist'. Picture courtesy: YouTube
Thanks to folks like James Wan, the horror genre is at its most profitable period in cinema. The strategy is simple – make a small budget horror film, market the hell out of it and you'll make a ton of money. Even if the film doesn't have legs, it will make enough money in the opening weekend to make a sizeable profit.
Such is also the case with the remake of 'Poltergeist', which is in 3D, no less. The original 'Poltergeist' is credited to Tobe Hooper but was ghost-directed by Steven Spielberg, and it became a pop culture phenomenon. A couple of sequels followed which weren't as effective, both critically and commercially. So thirty years later, we now have a reboot of sorts from directed Gil Kenan, who earlier made the animation horror comedy 'Monster House' a few years ago.
The story remains exactly the same – a family is tormented by ghosts in the house and their daughter becomes some sort of a conduit between the real world and the ghost world. Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt are the parents this time around, and since they're both great actors they bring some credibility to the plot. The weird old exorcist lady character also makes an appearance, as does the dreaded television that connects the ghosts to the family home.
The scares in 'Poltergeist' mostly range from predictable bump in the dark to screeching loud just to jolt you. Most of them fall flat, and the added 3D layer doesn't do much than make the already dark film look even darker. The thing is the original 'Poltergeist' was that it was the foundation for many of the jump scare scenarios in modern cinema, and a remake attempting the same doesn't make for many surprises. And those who have seen the original will wait for the scares to pop up rather than be entertained by them.
The only differentiating factor in the remake is that it veers away from the original in the third act, but by that time the film has already betrayed its audiences. There's no escaping that you're watching something you've seen a dozen times before. If only there was a dimension of ghosts who terrorize filmmakers who rely on clichés to entertain his audiences.
Watch the trailer of 'Poltergeist'