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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Supernatural > Ghosts > Demons > Poltergeist (2015 remake/MGM/Fox Blu-ray)

Poltergeist (2015 remake/MGM/Fox Blu-ray)

Picture: B+ Sound: A- Extras: C+ Film: C

They're here! ...a famous line from the Steven Spielberg produced/Tobe Hooper directed 1982 cult classic, muttered again here in the 2015 horror remake of Poltergeist. Released in May 2015 in the midst of the exceptional Mad Max: Fury Road and the box office behemoth Avengers: Age Of Ultron, not too many turned up in the theaters to see this one. As far as horror remakes go (or re-imaginings as they’re most commonly called) there have been worse but this modernized version favoring CGI over practical effects will probably be forgotten sooner rather the filmmakers hope.

No doubt existing due to the success of the Paranormal Activity and the Insidious films, this version of Poltergeist is surprisingly produced by Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert (Evil Dead), to whom you would think would be a bit more hands on with their practically stylistic approach here. Why not make the film grittier... or maybe even R-rated? The film's cinematography is incredibly slick and nicely lit throughout, which was what the original almost avoided when looking back at its dark and natural tones. Everything here is too clean and the demons just too fake looking to be scary.

Starring Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt as the parents - the plot is simple. A Family of five moves into a new home after the Husband/Father (Rockwell) recently loses his job. The kids don't think much of the house but it'll do as they promptly move in. Soon, weird things start happening and before you know it they realize that underneath the house is a gateway to another dimension that closely resembles purgatory. When one of the children are sucked into said dimension, the family must enlist the aide of Spiritual Help (where we get a fun more than a cameo by Jarred Harris) in order to bring the child back into the light and help this family get back to a life of normalcy.

There are many glaring plot holes in the film, mainly the suggestion that the Family is broke. Throughout the film we see huge HDTVs in all of the kids rooms, tablets in their hands, and fresh plants to plant all around. Only once when Rockwell turns home with a bunch of expensive new toys (including a drone which is unrealistically used during the end of the second act) is there a mention of 'hey, how did you afford this?' Some of the attempts at being more subtle than the original also miss the mark including re-deliverances of classic lines from the original and an overall weak kid cast.

A few of the scares are effective for the pre-teen audience and all in all the film isn't as hard to stomach as the inexcusable remakes to A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th or Amityville Horror, however it falls short of more effective films of its kind such as The Conjuring or even Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark and ends up being just a re-hash of old material with a familiar ghostly storyline. This isn't too far a cry from a Goosebumps episode if you took out some of the language.

However, the presentation on the disc is phenomenal. Fox has outdone themselves again with a startlingly clear high definition transfer in 2.40:1 widescreen and a beautifully mixed soundtrack in a lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 that makes all of the creepiness come to life all around you. This film really does have exceptional sound design that could make for a great presentation of home stereo surround for all of the pre-possession scenes where TVs, creepy toys, and radios come to life are highly effective and captured here, mimicking its theatrical presentation closely.

Extras include two versions of the film (Theatrical and Unrated), an Alternate Ending, and a Still Gallery. There's also a Digital HD copy of the film for your devices.

Though not a complete stinker, the remake of Poltergeist ends up being just another supernatural ghost story without the gritty realism of the original, nor a cast that can compare. Do yourself a favor and just re-watch the original again.

- James Harland Lockhart V



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