Poltergeist, 2015 – ★★★

I don’t hate remakes. In fact, some can be quite interesting and innovative, but really only when the filmmakers are willing to innovate. It also seems to work best when the original film had a good idea but…meh…execution. The Thing From Another World, The Fly, both great examples of this. So when you remake Poltergeist, one of the best horror films of the 80s, it would really help if you had something new to say. With some exceptions, 2015’s Poltergeist has nothing new, only hitting prefunctory beats in unnecessarily big ways. As with those who adapt Stephen King, these filmmakers seemed to forget that some of the quiet and lighter moments in the original film are what makes it truly special. Carol-Anne sliding across the kitchen floor. The whispered discussion of the afterlife. This new Poltergeist may as well claim to be “bigger, better, louder, faster” because at every turn (save a certain reflected horror) it overindulges on CGI, generic dead ghost effects, and continues the obnoxious trend of making toys that are already scary (dolls, clown dolls) look unnecessarily malevolent in their neutral state to the point where nobody would fucking buy the thing. It’s a shame, too, because Gil Keenan directed the animated haunted house picture Monster House, and that was full of unique ideas. It also squanders the talents of multiple actors doing their best to make you forget how much you loved Tangina.

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