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Poltergeist [MOVIE REVIEW]

Who did not see this one coming? Only time would tell when we would get our arbitrary remake of the 1982 classic and 2015 seemed to be the year we were going to have to suffer through it. Is it really all that bad as everybody was expecting though?

Well, yes. This is not a very good movie and no, nobody expected it to be. 'Poltergeist' is a movie filled with all the typical horror clich├ęs. Here we have little girls talking to "imaginary" friends, a creepy doll (I know that is in the original but they do nothing with it in this one), a typically tech obsessed teenage girl, characters acting stupid and just like I have come to expect from modern studio horror movies that are not directed by James Wan - they completely blow their wads too soon. What I mean by this is that it does not hold the scares long enough, there is barely any tension building before the shit hit the fan (which honestly happened about 30 minutes in). If you have all that intense stuff happen so early on in the film, you are losing your audience and it will be impossible to scare them again. I actually thought the movie was all right up to that point, afterwards it just goes haywire and completely drops the ball and succumbs to yet another generic and forgettable remake that nobody will be talking about in a couple of months (heck I doubt anyone but me is talking about the film now).

This movie is yet another excellent example of a big studio horror movie (especially remakes) that completely lacks grit, it just feels so clean. The original 'Poltergeist' was a very well made film but it still had grit and felt like these characters were actually going through some really tough stuff. The remake feels just like a typical modern day Hollywood movie were everything is smooth and nothing truly horrifying happens. In fact I would say this film is more by the numbers than most remakes I have seen. It has all the arbitrary scenes and does not do anything that is different. It is just so bland apart from some nice witty dialogue from some characters.

Another typical modern day horror movie trope; bad overabundance on CGI. At first I kind of gave it a pass with the horribly obvious CGI doll. Then just a few minutes later when the tree was CGI though... I started to get a little annoyed. Luckily at that time I did not know what was to come later because if I did I would probably not be writing this review. When I did find out just how bad and videogame-like the CGI would become later I had already reminded myself of what happens in the original film and what they were most likely going to do after they establish the kid getting a drone (if you have seen the original film and not the remake, I think you will know what they are going to use the drone for). Speaking of that kid by the way. Terrible. I do not want to hate on child actors but that kid was painful to watch and it is such a shame when the child actors in the original were excellent and completely sold me with their performances. The only actors I felt might have had some kind of fun in the film were Sam Rockwell and Jared Harris. It felt like they knew what kind of film this was going to be and just had fun while they could and admittedly, it was kinda fun to watch them on screen. Although it barely looked like Sam Rockwell's character actually cared that his daughter has been kidnapped by a poltergeist. 

When the actual investigation gets going, the movie had completely lost me and just sort of went by. It did not even feel like this was a huge deal for the family. Just like another minor speed bump in their lives. A big reason behind this is the flat directing. There is nothing that surprised me about the film as I could see every single scare (jump scare by the way) coming a mile away from the way the scenes were edited, composited and the use of silence. Even when the character Boyd (no I did not remember his name, I looked it up on IMDb) reached his hand into a hole in the back of a closet and something started pulling it and then use the drill he was trying to get and tries to essentially drill his face through the closet wall... I did not feel any tension because I knew they were not going to do anything with it. I know nothing is going to happen so I just started playing QuizUp on my phone while the scene went on (I really did). I was just so bored.

A minor saving grace is that the cinematography, while flat - still looks pretty good. But then again, most studio movies do tend to look pretty good nowadays so that is barely a positive for the film. It still did not offer anything new in terms of composition and framing that we have not seen before. It is like I said, completely by the numbers. It is a forgettable and bland horror movie and there is absolutely no reason to watch it. Just go and watch the original again.


2/10

- Lucas

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