The classic 1982 Poltergeist left me terrified of TV’s, trees and thunderstorms so it’s return made me nervous, and excited at the same time. There’s horror pedigree in this update too, with producer Sam Raimi (Evil Dead) and director Gil Kenan (Monster House).
The reboot does exactly what it says on the tin; Updating the story of a family home haunted by slightly peeved spirits only slightly. I was pleased to see it stick to the more traditional horror film style, rather than a more sensationalist, or gory affair.
There’s a decent amount of things that go bump in the night, but overall the film failed to keep me gripped in the horror genre throughout. The highlight was the three rooms of paranormal terror occurring simultaneously mid-way through the film, creepy toy clown and all.
There is not that much at fault here, but maybe the comedic relief from Sam Rockwell, as dad Eric, and Jared Harris, as TV paranormal investigator Carrigan Burke, takes away some of the tension needed to keep the fear bubbling up post young Madison’s disappearance. Maybe to fresh eyes this film will have a bigger impact than with those that experienced the original film.
The effects are well executed and visually it works well. Father Eric (Sam Rockwell) and mom Amy (Rosemarie DeWitt) do a fine job as the concerned parents, but the film belongs to the strong performances from the cast of kids in Kendra, (Saxon Sharbino), Griffin (Kyle Catlett), and the wonderful Kennedi Clements as Madison.
All in all a fun trip to the other side in classic horror style made for a new generation. Poltergeist is out in NZ Cinemas now.
Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar.