Poltergeist REvisited (2015)

I’m trying to watch the reboot of Poltergeist (2015), by my reckoning one of the worst remakes ever made.

Now to be sure I’m being a bit hyperbolic – after all, I haven’t seen every remake ever made never mind it’s well-assembled and a fairly competent production – but it bothers me on a visceral level because, for a start, it’s not only not particularly scary, but necessary.

Though what’s worse is that the story beats are the same as the original, which keeps reminding me of the original, much better, movie (though when Sam Rockwell’s Eric Bowen is at a dinner party and they discuss what is essentially the original Poltergeist was a nice touch. A pity no one noticed that it made the way they approached the movie redundant).

Though that’s not to say that it’s the same as the original, because Zelda Rubenstein (Tangina) died in 2010 had been replaced by Jared Harris, who’s always welcome and in a better movie I would have appreciated his presence more.

And the worse thing is that all the reboot needed to work was a story that existed independently of the original though Sam Rockwell goes a long way toward making it watchable because he’s particularly charismatic and his character being unemployed is a genuine weight on his shoulders.

If only the movie had leaned into this aspect of the story and actually dealt with what he was dealing with, as opposed to noting it then continuing on to copying the original movie, it might have been something really interesting because it would have provided a contrast to the first movie.

There’s even a point where it’s strongly implied that Eric Bowen has a drinking problem, which would have been really nice to have been acknowledged in some way – never mind a nice callback to Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986).

And I should mention that the casting of the children in the reboot doesn’t work particularly well.

It’s not that they’re bad more than they’re fairly flat compared to the original movie.

Everything is ‘compared to the original movie’ with the Poltergeist reboot because it does little to differentiate itself from the original, which makes it overall a really, really frustrating watch.


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