31 Days of Horror: Film #28 POLTERGEIST (2015)
The original Poltergeist is a great film. Scary, funny, and just plain cool. Though credited to director Tobe Hooper, most consider it a Steven Spielberg film, and it’s no secret that Spielberg directed at least some portion of the film (some say he directed the whole thing). Poltergeist is not one of my personal favorite horror movies of all time – though I totally understand if it makes your list – but if we were to limit that list to horror movies about ghosts and hauntings, then of course Poltergeist would have to rank pretty high.
The idea of remaking Poltergeist kept bouncing around for so long that you just knew that it was gonna happen one day, whether we wanted it or not (the same can be said about other future remakes like Escape from New York, Logan’s Run, Death Wish, and The Crow – they’re not going away).
2015’s Poltergeist actually isn’t a bad film, despite what I’d heard. It’s well-made and the actors all do good work. The thing is, it can’t escape the shadow of the original film. In fact, the remake doesn’t even really try. If you’ve seen the original, you’ve seen this film – except this one has cell phones, HDTVs, and that drone thing from RadioShack. It’s clear that no one had a brand new vision for the story other than, “but imagine that scene with CGI!”
I’ll say this: if you haven’t seen the original film or if it’s been a really long time, you’ll probably enjoy the remake. It’s still a good story. They didn’t change anything, really. They just updated it.
I mostly enjoyed the film. I don’t think we needed it, but since it’s here, at least it’s not a total loss. It lacks the heart and soul of the original but it keeps the scares and plot. Think of it like this: the original Poltergeist is totally Spielberg. I mean, even if it’s Tobe Hooper, it’s still very Spielberg. Spielbergian? Spielbergesque? I don’t know. Anyway. That was then. The Poltergeist remake is not Spielbergian. The Poltergeist remake takes after more recent haunted house movies like Insidious and Paranormal Activity. It’s meaner, colder, more difficult to fully embrace. It does its job well. The clown still scares me (damn clown). I just don’t really feel like I need to see it again. When I feel like rewatching Poltergeist, I’m gonna choose the original every single time.
Writer of horror, science fiction, and dark fantasy. Lover of books and film. Lifelong Godzilla fan. Reluctant blogger.
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