The remake of Poltergeist will leave fans of the original wanting more. It is, however, enjoyable enough for newbies. The movie has a couple of scenes that’ll make you jump a little but are mostly followed by laughter. There are a couple of updates to make it modern like cell phones and a drone that’s used to see what’s on the “other side”. It’s definitely not iconic although, has any remake ever earned that status?
In the movie, a family of five is looking for a suburban home. The dad, Eric Bowen (Sam Rockwell) is ambivalent because he can’t afford a home due to his recent layoff. Why they’re looking to buy then doesn’t make sense. How do they get a bank loan when the mom, Amy Bowen (Rosemarie DeWitt) doesn’t have a paying job either? Eric points out that his wife is a writer to the realtor but we never see her write. There’s no connection or reason for half the stuff being laid out in the beginning.
The youngest daughter, Madison Bowen (Kennedi Clements) starts chatting with the evil spirits right away. Her brother Griffin walks in on her talking to “someone”. She then goes to her parents to tell them she wants to live there. The realtor tells them that the asking price is really low and the next scene they’re moving in. At a dinner party the parents are told that the house is built on top of an old cemetery but not to worry because it was moved.
The son, Griffin Bowen (Kyle Catlett) is frightened of everything and is the only one that notices anything weird. The rest of the family doesn’t believe him until Madison is taken and they see her trapped in their television set. The mom gets help from an investigator, Dr. Brooke Powell (Jane Adams) who works at the university’s paranormal department. Other weird stuff happens but each family member keeps the incidents to themselves.
The eldest daughter, Kendra Bowen (Saxon Sharbino) likes watching a reality show about a guy Carrigan Burke (Jared Harris) who “cleans” places full of evil spirits. Dr. Powell gets Carrigan to help them for free and not as part of his reality show; we later find out that he’s her ex. After he investigates the house he explains to them that the bodies from the cemetery were never moved, just the tombstones. The spirits are angry for being disrespected. They chose Madison because she has a “gift” to see and talk to them and due to her age, she doesn’t fear or have judgment.
It’s fun to watch in 3-D with a large crowd but expect it to have holes in the storyline. With all the screams, smoke, and fire, not one neighbor ever comes out to see what’s happening. It’ll leave you wanting to watch the original.
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Kennedi Clements, Saxon Sharbino, Kyle Catlett, Kennedi Clements, Jared Harris, Jane Adams
Directed by: Gil Kenan
Written by: David Lindsay-Abaire (screenplay), Steven Spielberg (Story)
MPAA rating: PG-13
Running time: 93 minutes