In this unforgivable travesty of a re-make of the 1982 classic horror film ‘Poltergeist’, we follow the Bowen family as they move into a new home which turns out to be haunted by ghosts that seek to kidnap their daughter for some reason. I am going to tell you flat out that this movie sucked and is an insult to everything that made the original a classic. Let’s get this over with.
This was made purely to leech off of fans of the original film in order to make a quick buck, with no respect or homage to the original, or to horror movies in general. I rarely come out and blast a movie before remarking about specifics, but this movie is just that bad.
Right off the bat, we are shown the Bowen family moving into a new home where we see the father, played by Sam Rockwell, make a snarky comment about being laid off. We are also shown scenes of him trying to use various credit cards that have been overdrawn. So, why are they establishing him as being an out-of-work dad with a new home? Why was this necessary to the plot? In the original, the father was in fact a realtor and responsible for selling homes to nearly half of everyone in his neighborhood, and he was quite successful. I don’t see how making him broke is detrimental to the story. In fact, it’s an unnecessary inclusion that makes me feel bad for the rest of his family, which I already do considering how distant he is from his children. Every situation and communication with his kids is done so in a nonchalant manor, portraying a dismissive father that (when combined with the fact that he’s been laid off ), just makes him unrelatable.
Speaking of unrelatable parents, the mother character, (while being a carefree, pot-smoking bundle of joy in the original), is almost portrayed as kind of a bitch in this movie. When their son says he’s afraid of the dark and yells that she put on a night-light, she promptly suggests to her husband that the boy seek professional counseling from a therapist – a typical response from an anal-retentive cynic and not a loving mother. Given the depressing portrayal of the father, this duo doesn’t make for a couple with a lot of on-screen chemistry.
I have one question that puzzled me from the beginning of the movie: Why did the ghosts take the little girl? It made sense in the original film, (you know, in between all of the character building and depth brought forth by writers and creators who actually gave a shit), we learn that the little girl was born in the house and ever since has had a connection with the spirits. In this movie, however, they just moved in, so why is the little girl the target? Are we just supposed to accept everything at face value in this movie? I would assume so considering everyone in the family seems to, as well.
Do you remember all of those iconic scenes from the first film that stuck in your mind as soon as you saw them? The scene where the little girl is at the foot of the bed and says “They’re here…”, the scene where the father realizes they only moved the headstones and loses his shit, the first time we see the professional medium portrayed by the creepy and brilliant actress Zelda Rubinstein, or when the assistant hallucinates that he’s tearing his face off, or even when the dining room chairs stack themselves on the table. All of these are scenes that were masterfully portrayed and will remain staple scenes people always remember. This re-make, however, chose a different path. Instead of iconic scenes, or even nods to iconic scenes, we get poorly written garbage that seems to poke fun at the intensity of the first film by being cheesy and random.
Firstly, there is no Zelda Rubinstein, which is understandable since she’s dead, but there’s no creepy medium at all. Instead, we get some cocky television show host that used to date the psychiatrist. He’s a goofball and a joke, and brings brevity into a movie that already didn’t take itself seriously. Remember the scene from the original when all of the corpses pop out of the ground and the father character loses his shit? Well, in this re-make, instead we get the goofball medium simply stating, “Yeah, you know your house is built on an old cemetery? Well, maybe they didn’t move the bodies.” That’s it. It’s generally accepted from that point on that they didn’t move the bodies before they built the house and it’s never referenced again. We do get a random scene where the older daughter is in the basement and the floor starts to bleed as a corpse grabs her foot, but after she runs out we never see the basement again. In fact, I don’t think she even tells anyone about it, so what the hell? Why was that scene even included? Additionally, the iconic scene where the little girl says, “They’re here…” after the parents bed is tossed around in the original film, is replaced by the little girl walking into the living room and simply stating, “They’re here.” Like, yeah, they’re here, no big deal. They knew we all expected that scene so they didn’t even try to make it notable.
The entire duration of the family being terrorized by ghosts seems substantially shorter than the original as well, which to me seems like a missed opportunity to show how the family was being worn down by the ordeal. Actually, to be honest this entire movie was one big missed opportunity. I know that the original really made a mark on me when I was a kid, and this just seems like another typical ghost movie without all of the suspense and creativity. It’s a bland re-make among a sea of re-makes, and nothing more.