There are a couple of differences between the Poltergeist reboot and the original film. Despite these differences, most of the story has remained the same. A family moves into a house in the suburbs. They have to try to make things work due to their financial problems. They have three kids, the wife is struggling with a writing career, and the husband has just lost his job. I really enjoyed the importance that is placed on family in this film. Unfortunately, this family has chosen the wrong neighborhood. Crazy visions and apparitions haunt the entire family. Even though things started slowly and seemed harmless at first, things become steadily worse. Before they know it, everyone is in grave danger. The spirits try to find a way to take the youngest child. If you take away the fact that it is meant to be a Poltergeist reboot, you may find that the storyline is very similar to the Insidious storyline. Their youngest child has the ability to communicate with spirits and is the only one who can lead them to the light. Because of this, she is a valuable possession for the spirits.
I loved the amount of time that was spent on each member of the family. Everyone has their time to shine. Because of this, each character has their individual personalities. This plays a big part on the events that unfold later in the film. They seem like a real family with likeable qualities and problems that most of us can relate to. The film did a good job of making us feel something for the characters. We are more likely to feel fear when something bad happens to people we like.
However, Poltergeist was not as scary as I expected. This fact does not make it a bad film. After all, trying to reboot one of the most terrifying films ever made is a hard thing to accomplish. This is especially the case when one considers the fact that the scares used in the original will not work on today’s society. Things are different now and it can be quite difficult to update a film and keep all of the same qualities.
Quite a few scares in this film pay homage to the original. For example, most of the hauntings involved electrical occurrences. I will say that they tried to use current technology to make things a little more updated and more terrifying. It simply does not work the same as simple static and white noise. Other homages include clown toys that terrify and attack Griffin. An old willow tree near his window also attacked the poor kid. I loved the way the hauntings slowly turned into something more sinister and more violent. There was a larger focus on the violence and the anger of a poltergeist. There were a couple of scenes that had me at the edge of my seat, holding my breath.
Jared Harris plays as the realty show host and psychic. His performance was outstanding. It was obvious that most of the actors and actresses had a lot of fun with their roles. Poltergeist is definitely a fun watch. It just does not have the same impact as the original. If it were viewed as a standalone film, it would be worth your time. Give it a chance. You may like what you see.
The only thing I did not really like about the film was the way it ended. It started strong and I expected it to end just as strong. Things seemed a little off. I expected a bigger showdown, similar to the original ending. After all, a lot could have been done with the simple fact that hundreds of corpses are rotting beneath the neighborhood. I expected Sam Raimi to make a big deal out of this.
Poltergeist is produced by Sam Raimi and directed by Gil Kenan. It stars Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie Dewitt, Saxon Sharbino, Kyle Catlett, Kennedi Clements, and Jane Adams.