“Poltergeist” is yet another decent remake that’s a re-imagining of a 1980s classic.
Let’s face it: While many of us (myself included) may ask, “Why make it again?” the studios are smart enough to know that people who love originals are going to give the remakes a chance. Remakes generate interest and make money.
And the new “Poltergeist” is certainly not a bad movie. It just isn’t as scary or as much fun as the original.
The movie opens with a family of five moving into a new home. Dad Eric Bowen (Sam Rockwell) has been laid off from Deere & Co. in Moline. (Yes, this got quite a rise out of the rest of the audience with which I saw the film.)
Rosemarie DeWitt (“Men, Women & Children”) is the stay-at-home mom who would love to have time to pursue her writing career. She wants to get a job outside the home, but Eric won’t have it: The deal was that he would go to work and she would stay home. Period.
The two are invited to have dinner with neighbors, who tell them a few things about their new home that the real estate agent didn’t share. (There’s a great line I won’t spoil for you that’s uttered by one of the neighbors.)
Meanwhile, the kids are home by themselves. And all kinds of things begin to go wickedly wrong.
Saxon Sharbino is Kendra, the older daughter. She Skypes with her friends and continues to watch a paranormal reality show on television whose host ends with “This house is clean!” (This, like several other instances, is a nice nod to the first movie.)
Kyle Catlett is Griffin, the middle sibling. He’s an anxious boy who doesn’t at all like his new attic room. Griffin almost instinctively knows that something is wrong with the house and begins to experience bizarre occurrences nearly right off the bat.
Kennedi Clements is terrific as little sister Madison. Right away, we notice her talking to something or someone that we can’t see.
I like the way the script uses new technology — a drone toy, a cellphone, and, of course, a flat-screen TV (you knew that was coming, right?) to create a sense of fear in common objects. And I really enjoyed Jared Harris’ turn as Carrigan Burke, the “ghost hunter”-type TV host who comes to help the beleaguered family.
Because of the performers, the movie is above-average, but not memorable. You may enjoy the creepiness of it during the show, but don’t expect it to haunt you afterward.