Did ‘Poltergeist’ (82) need to be remade? The answer is no of course, and yet it was on the ever dwindling list of classic horror films not already hammered to bits and rehashed so it was pretty inevitable it would reappear at some point. Falsely suggesting hope for the film is the casting of well known actors Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt but, although Rockwell has a few good moments, even they look frustrated and bored throughout, as if they realised their mistake early on in the production.
The story is in principle the same – evil spirits behind the TV screen in a family home use the naivety and innocence of the young daughter to enter into the real world and abduct the child in the process, cue the arrival of demonologist Carrigan Burke (Jared Harris, clearly not having learned his lesson from ‘The Quiet Ones‘) who will try to rid the family home of the evil malevolent spirits and save the child in the process.
Despite being bluntly unoriginal in concept it also still manages to be unoriginal in every other way it can possibly be, scares are rubbish, predictable and largely don’t even make sense for the concept – the family begin hallucinating, for example, pretty sure poltergeists don’t traditionally posses the power to do this, and it has the misfortune of a story focusing on the crossing into another realm by a child which is a theme currently at the forefront of other modern and more robust horror films, most notably the Insidious franchise. The acting is unfortunately consistently as believable as the story, although it’s probably less the fault of the performers and more writer David Lindsay-Abaire (Steven Spielberg came up with the original story incidentally) and director Gil Kenan here – at one point a male character witnesses a chair fly into the air and smash into pieces by itself, and the next minute he’s trying to insinuate the family have made up their haunted house story. Dire.