Tuesday, May 26, 2015

[Review] Poltergeist (2015)

It's no secret that Hollywood has been pumping out reboots & remakes at a frequent rate. There have been plenty just within the horror genre alone, and here is another with Poltergeist. Now, any rational person isn't coming into this expecting stellar performances, an excellent script, or startling originality. But if you're looking to get a Spring horror jolt, you could do a lot worse.

Eric (Sam Rockwell) & Amy (Rosemarie DeWitt) and their three kids move into a brand spankin' new home in a suburban development. They all begin to notice a strange static electricity that runs throughout the house, and welp, there's a got damn evil poltergeist spirit lurking under the roof. I'll spare most of the plot details because if you've seen the original 1982 version, you already know how the story goes. And even if you haven't seen the original, you probably still know how the story goes.

This film sticks significantly close to the original story. The characterizations are basically kept the same--even down to the bratty older sister. A lot of scenes, narrative beats, & lines of dialogue are virtually identical, and the shots of the house look very similar. There are a couple of tweaks, though. That stormy window with the tree in the boy's loft bedroom is a sky view now--right above his bed, making it even more difficult to avoid. And instead of one creepy clown, there's an entire pile of them. Oh yeah, and there's a wild squirrel on the loose too. All of that essentially makes it the worst bedroom ever. In other words--it's the opposite of Arnold's room in Hey Arnold! The technology is obviously upgraded here as well, both in the production values and aspects within the film's world. The visuals look a lot crisper and a little less cartoony. And this time around, it's iPhones, iPads, and flat screen TVs that go haywire. Oh yeah, and there's a drone involved. (Really.)

The jump scares amp up in this version, and they're effective. Things go over-the-top pretty quickly, so horror fans of subtlety might be taken out of this. But we can't pretend like the original version wasn't excessive either. At times, the new one doesn't quite capture the same eeriness of the old one, so there's always the "might as well watch the original" thought lingering over this, and that's fair. But as I mentioned, there are some redeeming factors here with the frightening imagery and surprising moments of giddy fun. I would also argue that this 2015 rendition is more economical than the 1982 piece. Ultimately, I think biggest problem with this one is that it doesn't have this lady.


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