Poltergeist (2015)

Wow. When did they remake Poltergeist? This year? Wow. When was it released? I don't remember seeing anything about it. I mean, it's not surprising that they rebooted yet another franchise in an attempt to suck as much money out of a single idea as they can. Still, I liked the original, and I would have expected to hear something about this reboot. Sam Raimi was one of the producers on this movie, so I went it with an air of optimism.

The greatest compliment I can pay to this movie is that it is a competent remake of the original. They basically decided to update the movie with new effects and put the whole story in more modern times. Aside from that, they really didn't do all that much with the source material, and it may be best that they didn't. It would be nice if they would have just left it alone in the long run.

Inexplicably, they introduce powerlines as the source of the family's ills very shortly after the movie starts, and it is referred to many times, with all of the spiritual phenomena having some relation to electricity, sparks, or something like that for no particular reason. In fact, one of the more common points of spiritual influence is a static shock that everyone seems to get at the bottom of the stairs from the banister. The wood banister. I don't know if you have electricity in your home, but I suspect your wires are not made from wood, and there is a reason for it.

So, we also change the names of the characters. Seems odd, but who cares, right? The little girl is now brunette, but she did a very good job with her role. Not that much is expected of a child actor in this role - lots of crying and playing. The elder sister is the caricature of a teenage girl who wants to rebel against her parents. The parents are fine. Yes, I would never have cast Sam Rockwell in a role where he had to try to carry a movie, but he was fine. There were some choices that really annoyed me, though.

Jared Harris played his role as the ghost hunter as well as you can expect, but there was no chance that he would be able to match the iconic performance by Zelda Rubinstein in a similar role. The phrase "this house is clean" is simply owned by Zelda, and there's no way he could compete. His character is written pretty poorly, so he doesn't stand a chance. Speaking of terribly written characters - the little brother in the original film was a whiny victim through most of the movie. They decided to change his character altogether, and it didn't help. Hey, everything electric screw up, so let's have the kid pilot a drone through the portal to hell. What could go wrong?

Other really annoying undefined limits on the powers of the house just make this movie harder to be scared of. When the little boy is running and he is stopped in mid-air and can't move, why do we care that the tree is coming for him? Is a physical form of attack suddenly supposed to be scarier than the unseen and unbeatable force? This kind of unrelatable thinking is what makes the remake much, much worse than the original.

Direction was okay
Story was generally okay
Dialog was weak
Characters were very weak
Acting was okay

Bottom Line: Honestly, just go back and watch the original again.



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