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poltergeist-poster

It’s not often I’m lost for words – but Poltergeist is so resoundingly ‘meh’ I just don’t have anything to say about it. It’s all right. I quite enjoyed it.

But the producers are pitching this as a ‘terrifying new vision.’ If you’ve watched the original – there’s nothing new here. In fact the original has more tension, more scares and – dare I say – more horror all around. Soooo, I can’t let that slide.

Quite why they felt the need to trumpet this as being by the producers of Evil Dead is beyond me. That movie was resoundingly shit, Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert should be desperately trying to pretend it never happened, not proudly announcing that they are giving another classic the same treatment. Raimi’s judgement appears to have been residing somewhere up his backside for the majority of the last decade.

This isn’t that bad, but commits many of the same sins as Evil Dead: retreading old ground, replacing beloved characters with inferior ones, removing scares and tension and just generally producing something totally unwanted and unnecessary.

But the word that describes it best is bland. Sam Rockwell is bland – who the hell thought he could carry this movie? Rosemarie DeWitt is bland. The kids are bland. The scares are bland. It’s all BLAND.

For their advertising campaign the studio decided to go, primarily, with an image of a clown. You can imagine the conversation in the boardroom can’t you? “Clowns! People find clowns scary! Let’s go with clowns!” The part this creature plays is minimal, to say the least. There’s a killer tree with a bigger part than the toy clown. And that just about sums up the horror here.

This is a money spinner, nothing more. There’s no soul to this film and certainly no imagination. The only scene I felt added anything visually was the re-imagined ghost world. And the only actor who appeared to be ‘trying’ was Jared Harris. But bless him – he even gave his all in the utterly appalling The Quiet Ones (review coming up). And even his character felt flat and…well…bland.

The original Poltergeist has the weird vibe of being a 1980’s family adventure film, and a horror movie at the same time. It worked in the 80s, it just doesn’t work in this remake and feels anachronistic. It also feels really short – not that that is entirely a bad thing in a movie that lacks tension, scares and presents us with characters who are mind numbingly dull. The film makers had no ideas, no imagination, everything here is a retread. It’s acceptable or mediocre at best. This is not a terrifying re-imagining. It’s a bland update. Fuck you Sam Raimi.

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