Viewed – 25 June 2016 Netflix
I approached this fairly open minded despite my general dislike of remakes to classic horrors. However my memory of the original Steven Spielberg penned / Tobe Hooper directed Poltergeist is cloudy at best. A family move into a house in a nice neighbourhood and soon find themselves troubled by weird goings on. Yes, it’s nothing at all new and is pretty much following the blue-print of a wealth of other horror movies such as The Conjuring or anything with restless spirits in it.
However with a likeable cast headed by Sam Rockwell (Moon, The Green Mile) and decent production values I still found myself entertained. In an attempt to bring the idea into the modern era we get ghostly apparitions tinkering with cell phones and flat screen TVs as well as electricity and lighting to interesting effect. There’s even a sequence with a drone robot going into a portal that proves pretty creepy. Yet the movie’s key failing is not having any genuine scares (sorry, but clown dolls…again?) and apart from an alarming scene with a drill…it stays decidedly family-friendly throughout. Good use of CGI and a fun if clichéd appearance by Jared Harris (Mad Men) kept me intrigued and some fun ghost pranks like kids being dragged up a staircase or a muddy puddle with a hand coming out of it made this a fun if uninspired evening’s viewing. Characterisation was particularly lacking however (the parents are unemployed…but can still afford a swanky house!!?), the little girl as the focus of the movie just basically said her lines (with the blandest ‘they’re here’ ever delivered) and some better atmosphere wouldn’t have gone amiss instead of a reliance on effects and action.
I’m an old-school horror devotee and yes this left me wanting, but if you’re not as fussy as me or that keen on more hard-core frights … this was a competent if unimaginative remake that may still be worth your time.
Verdict: 2.5 /5