Thursday, February 4, 2016
In this remake of the 1982 Poltergeist a family moves into a house that was built over a cemetery. It isn't long (less time than in the original) that strange things begin to happen, and then the little girl, Madison (Kennedi Clements), disappears into a closet and a dimension of lost souls. This version comes up with some new angles to the original film. In the 1982 version the kitchen chairs get stacked up on the table in seconds, while in this version the boy, Griffin's (Kyle Catlett), comic books get stacked up in the hallway. We get more of a view of the other-dimensional world of the dead, and there are striking images of corpses trying to force their way into our world from the child's closet. Oddly, however, the climax in this is rather abrupt and simply can't compare to the original's. The performances are okay -- Sam Rockwell [Iron Man 2] is the father, Rosemarie DeWitt is the mother, with Jared Harris as TV ghost hunter Carrigan Burke, among others -- but the picture is pretty much stolen by little Catlett, who gives a winning performance as the frightened little boy, Griffin. Ghosts or no ghosts, the parents seem even more irresponsible in not going to the police than in the 1982 version. One sequence with a drill and a terrified ghosthunter, Boyd (Nicholas Braun), nearly turns into torture porn but wisely shows restraint. Jane Adams and Susan Heyward play other psychic investigators.
Verdict: Okay, but a cut below the original. **1/2.