Is Poltergeist yet another horror remake no one ask for? Well, the reviews are in, and the majority seem to lean in that direction. The Poltergeist remake was the much hyped do-over brought to audiences by filmmaker Sam Raimi and director Gil Kenan. Raimi has some experience re-interpreting an existing horror franchise, as he was behind the American version of The Grudge.
Unfortunately, it seems like the Poltergeist hype relied more heavily on name-dropping and nostalgia than the promise of a truly inventive and very scary re-imagining of a legendary horror series. Critics of the horror remake are mainly unimpressed. As of now, Poltergeist has a 35 percent “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. According to the site, only 37 percent of audience members who chimed in about the movie actually liked it. So what went wrong for Poltergeist?
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Los Angeles Times reviewer Mark Olsen said that the Poltergeist remake was “a pleasant enough diversion”, but found it overall to be a “disconcertingly uneven outing.”
“The storytelling is choppy in a way that feels like some things were left in the cutting room. Amy and Eric attend an awkward dinner party that isn’t even talked about on the drive home. While the parents in the original film smoked a little pot when behind their bedroom doors, the Bowens have a drink or two, with a lingering, unexplored implication that Eric drinks a little too much.”
The remake was Poltergeist updated the technology but was too lazy in execution to inject any kind of worthwhile commentary. We are in a post-9/11, post-recession America; it would be sad to think that a blatant opportunity to give this remake life apart from the original was passed on for a shot-by-shot re-telling of a ground-breaking horror movie.
Michael O’Sullivan of the Washington Post found Poltergeist to be silly rather than scary, even going as far as to call the entire movie “laughable.”
To call Poltergeist laughable is not the same thing as saying it’s bad (although it is that, too.) It’s just that it seems less interested in scaring you than in making you chuckle.
In the end, this Poltergeist hoped by reintroducing the best-known elements of the original movie, which would be enough to classify it as a scary good time. Instead, what should be dated by modern standards remains decidedly more scary and authentic than the haphazardly put together re-interpretation.
If you want to see a throwback movie based on a decades-old franchise, you may want to pass on Poltergeist and go see Mad Max: Fury Road instead.
[Image Credit: 20th Century Fox UK]