Poltergeist (2015)

Rating 15

Length 1Hr 34

Release 22.5.2015

About All seems well for Eric Bowen (Sam Rockwell), wife Amy (Rosemarie DeWitt) and their three children as they move into their new house in the suburbs of Illinois. Soon, youngest daughter Maddy (Kennedi Clements) begins talking to an imaginary friend, or so the family thinks. It’s not long before sinister spirits wreak havoc in the home, holding Maddy captive and forcing the parents to consult a team of parapsychologists who engage the supernatural entities in a battle for the girl’s freedom.


Treat

  • This is a streamlined plot with a well cast family who you will root for off the bat. The film makes it feel as if its learn from the franchise’s missteps to craft a more coherent story. This starts by you seeing them move in rather than having them well established and making a connection to the paranormal investigators earlier in the film.
  • As reboots go, this is a solid attempt at keeping the good while making it the director’s own. They keep the tree, the moving of items and the false resolution, but the best is the young girl’s delivery of the iconic ‘they’re coming’ / ‘they’re here’. It wasn’t a mimic, but actually a much more subdued vibe.
  • Sam Rockwell holds his own in this film. Not only does he have the leading man persona, but he lifts up some of the children’s performances. Rockwell brings comedy and emotion to his role. His ‘you‘ve got to be brave’ speech being cut short by his freak out over an invading squirrel is tricking genius, but it’s his tears at explaining that his daughter is missing that really makes the character well rounded.
  • The use of technology in this update is also something that really gives it a legitimacy as a reboot. I love how the eldest girl, first of all is much more present than the original, uses her phone to detect the disturbances. Then there’s the addition of the drone that is used to explore the Other Side. Yes, its been done to death in Stargate with the Rovers to ‘check out the other worlds’, but her it feels new and has a purpose not only in terms of plot, but character as well.
  • I love this score. I listened to it so much after I’d seen this film in the cinema. I also love the song, TV Set by Spoon, that’s used for the closing credits.
  • Jared Harris, what a brilliant guy. Not quite ham, but whatever it is, he’s certainly enjoying himself.

Trick

  • So, while I end up loving the story arc of middle child Griffin, I fucking hate the kid at the start. I feel as if his meekness and fear of everything is a tad over acted. He’s a massive pussy and a total cock blocker. Even his mum gives him shit for acting like a baby. However, once his sister has been booted into the Other Side, he really does become a brilliant, non-pussy character.
  • The CGI, in places and particularly at the end is really ropey. Okay, so you’re not really going to make it look as good as the original when they used actual skeletons, but physical effects often trump what computers do. When you are living up to the effects from an original, I think filmmakers really should reconsider what I feel is the easy option.

Final Thoughts

A brilliant vehicle for Sam Rockwell to demonstrate his acting range. It cleans up the plot from the original and gives the audience some excellent character development.

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