IR Film Review: Supernerd Doesn’t Feel the Need to Call in the Ghostbusters for This ‘Poltergeist’

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

The Hollywood movie-making machine enjoys churning out the remakes, especially around the summer season. Sometimes an updated version of a film can be good, as long as the filmmakers have something fresh to say. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case with the new Poltergeist.

The movie wastes no time getting into the full swing of things. We barely get to know the family beyond the bare basics (out-of-work Dad, Mom who writes, sullen teen daughter, scared middle-child brother and precious young daughter) before the ghostly shenanigans begin. It starts small,Poltergeist 1 with things seemingly moving on their own and minor electrical occurrences. But soon, the youngest child disappears into thin air while the other two are attacked by supernatural forces.

Now the film kicks into high gear, with the paranormal experts coming onto the scene to help the family find their little girl. Unfortunately she doesn’t seem to be on this plane of existence. Enter the exorcist, here to “clean house” and help these people rid their lives of the entities haunting them once and for all.

Most of the film is downright laughable. It didn’t have anything new to say that the original 1982 film, directed by Tobe Hooper Steven Spielberg hadn’t said already. The only real upgrade was that we got a quick tour through the land of the dead via a toy drone that was sent through the portal in the closet.

The only highlights were Sam Rockwell and Jared Harris, and even then they felt like caricatures at times. Rockwell always had a quick one-liner ready at the drop of a hat, which was a little odd for a guy in his circumstances. Harris was good as the exorcist (taking over the Zelda Rubinstein part) but at times felt a little hokey for my liking.

Director Gil Kenan and screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire didn’t seem to have anything new to say, rushing from one jump scare to the next, never really letting anything sink in or breathe. They even rushed the big reveal that took the first movie almost two hours to get to, killing any tension they could have gotten by having it casually discussed at a dinner party like it was no big thing.

I get that audiences these days have short attention spans and like it when things get to the point, but this film moved things along way too quickly, never really finding its footing. If you want a good haunted house flick, go check out Kenan’s Monster House. Otherwise, this is one ghost story that is completely transparent.

Perhaps we would have gotten a better film if Spielberg jumped in and ghost directed this one as well.

GRADE: C