In Theatres: 
May 22, 2015
Running Time: 
93 minutes

The original Poltergeist remains one of the most memorable horror films with its simple story but effective scares. Even to this day I can still hear Zelda Rubinstein’s chilling voice, and I slightly hesitate whenever I eat a chicken drumstick in fear of maggots crawling out. It’s a film that sticks with you in the recesses of your mind. That’s a lot to live up to for the 2015 remake, and despite not having the same impact as the original, it does manage to exceed expectations and deliver some memorable moments.


Poltergeist keeps the same general premise as the original; a family moves into a suburban neighborhood, only to find out that their new home was built on top of a cemetery and is now being haunted by the dead who wish to be freed. The youngest daughter, Madison Bowen (Kennedi Clements), is taken by vengeful spirits and is trapped inside an alternate dimension within the house. Willing to do anything to get her back, the Bowen family invite a team of paranormal investigators into their house and devise a way to travel to where Madison is to retrieve her, that is, if the spirits will let her go.


There are plenty of similarities between the Bowens and the Freelings and the two films in general. There’s a possessed tree that grabs ahold of Griffin (Kyle Catlett), just as it did with Robbie, and if you thought the clown doll was creepy before wait until you see the clowns (yes, there are multiple) the new film has to terrify you. Kennedi Clements does a decent job at being the centerpiece of the film, but her delivery of the iconic “They’re here” line lacked any emphasis and was kind of disappointing. I guess there’s just no topping Heather O'Rourke as Carol Anne.


The differences are varied enough so that the film feels like it’s own entity and not relying entirely on the Poltergeist franchise. Sam Rockwell injects a fair amount of humor into his role as Eric Bowen and pretty much gives a solid father figure performance. One scene of his in particular in which he says they’ll do anything to get Madison back was surprisingly heartfelt. These moments, coupled with some crafty jump scares, make the film more than just a lackluster remake.


Poltergeist does a good job at paying homage to the original while still maintaining some originality to keep things unexpected and scary. It’s a solid horror film for the modern age, just don’t expect to have the urge to throw out your television set after watching it.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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