"Clear your minds, they already know what scares you."
If there’s one thing I hate its remakes that are unnecessary. The original Poltergeist by Steven Spielberg (he probably directed it okay, just look for some theories online and judge for yourself but in my opinion, he did it) is a marvel of intimate and paranoid horror involving more of a suburbia take on the usual horror tropes. The effects still hold up today and the themes are still relevant today, and it’s not as if it’s impossible to make a ghost story and not accused of ripping off Poltergeist, so why, please tell me, why would you remake it now?
A family is plagued by evil forces that lurk within their home. The attacks begin to escalate and eventually their youngest daughter is taken captive, resulting in the rest of the family having to come together to save her before she is lost forever.
The Psycho remake is regarded as one of the worst remakes of all time, why, because there is no reason for it to exist. It’s a shot-for-shot remake with nothing original innovative in sight. The same can be said for Poltergeist. A child touches a TV, we get it you’re a remake but just do something else instead of constantly trying to remind us of the original. You need more than nostalgia to survive in this world. It takes imagination and originality and some unique ideas to rise above the plot points and scares we’ve seen before. The only difference is that here they are not executed as well as they were in 1982. Whenever they do try to take a different approach it feels weird and pointless, if you were going to change anything, why would you change that tiny detail that makes no difference.
Actually that’s a lie. The other difference from the original is a near total dependence on CGI. Nearly everything is digitally enhanced in an effort to try and outdo its predecessor. But this remake never does, instead the effects look fake and unbelievable. I don’t dislike CGI, in fact I love it as long as I don’t know what is CGI ad what is real. Remember T2 and Jurassic Park, CGI heavy right, wrong, nearly half of those effects utilised practical creations and this resulted in a far better visual experience. Poltergeist just slaps the CGI on everything and it is very easy to separate the real and fake, much like real ghost stories.
Furthermore, by asking your actors to imagine everything that happens around them and not presenting them with anything to react against, the result is only made worse by the fact that you can tell the actors are only staring at a green screen, struggling to convey real emotions from their position when faced with just some basic directing.
To be fair though, despite a rather lacklustre attitude and reaction to the horror around them, the acting in the movie is credible. By far Sam Rockwell is the best part of the film and if the rest of the film was better we might even praise him as amazing. As well as that the rest of the film is made in a proficient way. Don’t be mistaken, there’s nothing horrible or terribly wrong about the film, but at the same time it does nothing at all to stand out or make an impression and when you’re remaking a horror classic like this then all you’re really doing is tarnishing the original.
As you can see with my list of top five best horror remakes the best ones will always try something new, whether it be increased body horror, faster pace, paranoia or introducing A-list talent in the production. But here there’s nothing new on offer, and nothing that can scare me because I’ve seen it all before.