Friday, September 25, 2015

"Poltergeist" Remake Haunted by the Original's Shadow

"Poltergeist " is let loose on Blu-ray and DVD to haunt your home. Although the movie is a remake of Steven Spielberg 's classic, the only credit he's given is as a writer. His name is nowhere to be found in the list of producers. That's probably a good thing, since I'm sure he would've wanted to avoid being associated with this rather lackluster but still mildly thrilling supernatural film.

After the Bowen family moves into a seemingly perfect suburban home, sinister spirits begin to haunt them. And when the terrifying apparitions abduct Maddy, their youngest daughter (Kennedi Clements), the Bowens must find a way to rescue her - or they'll lose her forever in "Poltergeist."

I will say that the cast isn't one of the problems with "Poltergeist." Everyone embraces their character and there's a real feeling of family between the actors. That's important, since the movie at its core is a symbol of the power of families and the importance of sticking together through thick and thin.

Every aspect of "Poltergeist" feels rushed. It almost feels like a Reader’s Digest condensed version of the original. It definitely doesn't take the time the 1982 film did to establish an atmosphere or the characters to a point where we truly feel connect to them.

They even found a way to incorporate a found footage angle into the film through the use of a drone. Of course, this is just a sign of the times and feels like a ploy to stay relevant and appeal to fans of movies like "Paranormal Activity" and the likes.

The special effects aren't very convincing either. They're not all bad, but many just come off a bit too animated. Even though the original 1982 movie's effects appear aged now, they're a whole lot more pleasant to look at than the CGI found here.

"Poltergeist" also suffers from what feels like confusion between writers on how to end the film. The conclusion plays like it was made up on the spot as filming was already underway. When it's all over and done with, everything is wrapped up in a nice bow with no promise of a sequel in sight.

The film is rated PG-13 for intense frightening sequences, brief suggestive material, and some language. There's no gore to be seen. It's really just disturbing images of dead or decomposed people. There's no nudity, but a couple of intimate moments between the parents are found. A few scenes feature alcohol use as well.

The DVD edition of "Poltergeist" has a few special features. It contains an alternate ending, gallery, and theatrical trailers.

I want to make it clear that I didn't hate the "Poltergeist" remake. In my eyes, it just didn't have the same sincerity or appeal that the original did. Maybe it's because I'm not the same age I was when I saw the first one. I think it might be that this update was made for a new generation who never saw Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper's version and probably wouldn't relate to the original the way older audiences do. Either way, it failed to completely satisfy my appetite for frights.

"Poltergeist" is available now on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital Download.