Poltergeist Review

So I watched Poltergeist…

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I’m a huge fan of horror movies. I know they aren’t often well done but I love getting a good scare at the cinema. And, to its credit this movie is scary…for the first fifteen minutes, after which it becomes a visual sleeping pill so boring and mundane that it could put someone on cocaine to sleep.

Okay, basic plot: The Bowens are a quaint family of five who move to a new home. Strange occurrences start happening around the house and…honestly, if you’ve ever watched a horror movie, you get where this going. The house is haunted by spirits, the spirits take a child, paranormal experts are called to investigate blah blah blah. Are horror movies only allowed to use the same four plot elements?

The movie starts really well, after the mandatory introduction of the family, the spirits really start reeking havoc, in the sinister way that all spirits reek havoc – moving around furniture. OOOhhhhhhh so scary. I’ve never understood that about horror movies, the ending of the movies always have the ghosts/spirits/demons kicking serious ass and actually trying to kill the main characters so why don’t they start off with that? I guess it’s because the script told them to start small, okay, understood. I’ll admit that even though the actions of the spirits are often really stupid in the beginning they had me scared – which I loved, unfortunately it didn’t last.

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This movie is actually more funny than scary but I don’t think it intended to be. It actually feels like a horror movie spoof at times. Characters in horror movies have to be inherently stupid or else these movies wouldn’t be longer than ten minutes; but the characters in this movie are just downright comical. There are ghosts in your house, the youngest member of your family has been sucked into another world and you’re taking selfies? What the fuck? No one in this movie behaves the way a human being would in this situation – everyone is super calm, nobody is panicking, at times I had to remind myself that there was actually a life or death situation on the cards.

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Now the characters’ idiotic behaviour is down to a bad script but the lack of connection I felt with them is down to bad acting. I was so disappointed with Sam Rockwell in this movie, he’s such a great actor and  I think underrated actor; but his performance in this movie isn’t helping things. Yes, he’s hamstrung by a bad script but I didn’t ever believe he was who he was pretending to be. Same goes for Jared Harris – I don’t think he ever commits to this character at any time in the movie. He looks bored and disinterested in delivering any kind of notable performance.

I don’t mind Hollywood making remakes, actually wait; let me rather say, I don’t mind the idea of Hollywood making remakes. If you bring something new to the story, modernise it a bit, it can be really entertaining – like Mad Max. But if all you’re going to do is throw some fancier CGI at the movie without improving or (in the case of this movie) changing any of the plot elements from the original then you should rather just release a digitally remastered version of the movie.

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The ending of this movie was also just a disaster. It felt like the director forgot to put in about five minutes of story. But – more importantly – since you never care about the characters, since you spend the majority of the movie trying to fight off falling asleep, the eventual victory at the end of the movie doesn’t move you at all. I actually wish the spirits had won.

Overall, this movie is just a poorly done rehash of the original, it completely lacks innovation of any kind and has you spending more time trying to figure out the hurriedly constructed plot rather than being scared. There’s no reason to ever see this movie, just rent the original and call it a day. 2/10

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