Sunday, 31 May 2015

Film Review: "Poltergeist" (2015).

"They know what scares you."
Sadly, this is can never be more false with Poltergeist. This supernatural adventure horror remake directed by Gil Kenan; adapted by David Lindsay-Abaire; based on the 1982 film of the same name created by Steven Spielberg. Legendary filmmaker Sam Raimi and director Kenan reimagine and contemporize the classic tale about a family whose suburban home is invaded by angry spirits. When the terrifying apparitions escalate their attacks and take the youngest daughter, the family must come together to rescue her.

For those who are not familiar with the original, Poltergeist is a supernatural horror film directed by Tobe Hooper. It was co-written and produced by Steven Spielberg, but had a clause in his contract to prevent him directing another movie while he made E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). Therefore, Hooper was selected to direct based on his work on The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). It is the first and most successful entry in the Poltergeist film series. Set in a California suburb, the plot focuses on a family whose home is invaded by malevolent ghosts that abduct the family's younger daughter. Released on July 29, 1982, the film was a major critical and commercial success, achieving in being the eighth highest-grossing film of 1982. Years since its release, the film has been recognized as a classic within the horror genre and has gained a cult following. Aside for being nominated three Academy Awards, the film was ranked as #80 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments (The 'moment' being the clown attack scene) and the Chicago Film Critics Association named it the 20th scariest film ever made. The film also appeared at #84 on American Film Institute's 100 Years...100 Thrills, a list of America's most heart-pounding movies. The Poltergeist franchise is believed by some to be cursed due to the premature deaths of several people associated with the film, a notion that was the focus of an E! True Hollywood Story. The film's success helped spawned a franchise consisted of two sequels and the remake.

The film stars Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jared Harris, and Jane Adams. Despite the effort given by the cast, the modernised characterisations of the classic characters were less than stellar. Especially with Harris' Carrigan Burke and Clements' Madison Bowen. Both characters were weak and can never live up to Zelda Rubinstein's Tangina Barrons and Heather O'Rourke's Carol Anne Freeling.

Low-key creepy rather than outright scary, the new Poltergeist marks a weak improvement over the original, partly because, from acting to poor scares, it is horribly executed; and partly because the filmmakers have downgraded the role of the expert, played in all her powerful glory by Zelda Rubinstein in the original and by a considerably more subdued Jared Harris here. Director Gil Kenan crams in every ghost cliché, from demonic faces to killer clown toys. This house springs so many FX shocks it plays like a theme-park ride. Result? It's not scary, just busy. For the real thing, watch The Shining . . . The Haunting . . . or The Innocents . . . What all those films have in common is precisely what the new Poltergeist lacks: They know it's what you don't see in a haunted house that fries your nerves to a frazzle.

Simon says Poltergeist receives:

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