Poltergeist  is a modern-day retelling of the classic Tobe Hooper horror flick from the 1980’s. The film follows a down-on-their-luck family (Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt play the parents in the film) that move into a new house only to discover that their new home is also home to a powerful supernatural force that could put all of their lives in mortal danger.
Some classics just shouldn’t be remade. This film is first and foremost- a disaster. Gil Kenan is a director who’s past work (Monster House specifically) was very Spielberg-ian in tone, is slapped right into the middle of the director’s chair and is seemingly being told what to do and what not to do from higher-up studio execs. None of the stuff seen from Kenan’s earlier stuff is on display here. As an audience, we never have that initial feeling of wonderment and fear when we first encounter the spirits; instead we’re subjected to generic shots of actors that clearly don’t want to be there, looking up at CGI creations that aren’t particularly well done and don’t even for a minute feel real or tangible.
Sam Rockwell is a revelation. This is the second garbage film he’s been in recently (the first being Laggies) where he gives a performance that is light-years ahead of everyone else in the film and is honest to god, the only thing that keeps you in your theater seat.
The 1982 original is better. This new edition adds nothing new to this story besides some updated gadgets and a location change. For whatever reason, the film takes all of the iconic scares from the original (the clown, the tree, the portal) and loses focus of what made them scary in the first place. What made the original so terrifying was that we didn’t see everything; most of the big scares were left up to our imagination.This version goes above and beyond to do the opposite because we now have the technology.
Borderline generic. This 2015 rendition, which is updated with iPhones, Skype, and flat-screen TVs, is supposed to be making this old story we’ve come to know and love, feel new and terrifying again, but never has it felt older and generic than it does here.
Stay home and watch the original.