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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Monday, November 02, 2015

Movie Review - Poltergeist

Poltergeist (2015)
Starring Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie Dewitt, Kyle Catlett, Kennedi Clements, Saxon Sharbino, Jared Harris, and Jane Adams
Directed by Gil Kenan

I know full well that it's not the least bit cool to say this, but I actually found this 2015 remake of Poltergeist surprisingly tense and much better than I expected it to be.  It's surely not without its share of story problems, but director Gil Kenan does his job of creating an atmosphere that keeps the audience always a bit nervous for the ominous outcome.

Much like the 1982 original (which, I must admit, I don't particularly hold any fawning affection towards), this remake focuses on a family relocating only to discover that their home was built upon an ancient Indian burial ground.  When the ghosts lure the family's young daughter Madison (Kennedi Clements) into their world, mom Amy, dad Eric, and older brother and sister Griffin and Kendra (Rosemarie Dewitt, Sam Rockwell, Kyle Catlett, and Saxon Sharbino, respectively) do all that they can to get the youngest member of their family back into the real world.

At its heart, the story of Poltergeist is successfully realized here, but attempts at adding modern updates -- cell phones, camera drones -- conjure up nothing but laughs as they are utilized to try and further the story.  Despite these moments of silliness (and a severely underwritten and overly exaggerated performance by the family's teenage daughter), the film still creates a foreboding environment thanks to the direction (which, like the original, eschews gore in favor of atmospheric creepiness) and a game cast led by Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie Dewitt who definitely elevate this horror flick.  As mentioned, tension is present here and there were multiple moments throughout the film where I found myself on the edge of my seat which is sometimes all I can ask for from a horror flick.  Yes, it's not without a couple issues (and the question of "did the original really need to be remade" still lingers), but this reboot of Poltergeist is much better than the consensus of negative reviews would have you believe.

The RyMickey Rating:  B-

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