The friend I saw the movie with said it best: The concept behind Poltergeist isn’t scary, “it’s just sad.” The plot begins in typical horror story fashion: A family consisting of mother, father, and three children (the quiet, suspicious one; the baby who has a frightening affinity for talking to spirits; and the completely over-it teenager whose attitude gets turned right around at the advent of supernatural occurrences) move into a new (obviously haunted) house. Small, strange events hint at the terror supposedly to come: Griffin (Kyle Catlett) (the middle child) pulls a string in his closet and a whole bunch of creepy toy clowns come pouring down. Griffin catches his little sister Madison (Kennedi Clements) talking to somebody invisible. Griffin sees a ball rolling around on its own. (In retrospect, poor Griffin!) Then Madison disappears and the family can’t find her anywhere except – somehow – she can kind of communicate with them through the TV.
They enlist the help of the supernatural studies department at a local college, who decide that the situation needs the help of somewhat-famed ghost hunter Carrigan Burke (Jared Harris) (of whom eldest daughter Kendra (Saxon Sharbino) is a huge fan) to get Madison back. But here’s the kicker: The spirits that pulled Madison through to the “other side” aren’t evil. Sure, they’re pissed off, since a housing development was build over their graveyard and they can’t pass on, but they only took Madison because she, much like Carrigan, has a gift for talking to the supernatural, and they want her to lead them into the light. Of course, this would be at the expense of the young girl’s life, so there’s that, but it’s still not like the devil has come to wreak havoc on the family.
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, or even some unexpected plot twists, I’d suggest you look elsewhere. The 2015 version of Poltergeist is unsurprising (even when everything seems to be over and then the spirits resurface, I could have predicted it), sprinkled with enough cheap thrills – mostly of the jump-out-and-scare-you variety, like the squirrel in Griffin’s bedroom (the only point at which I actually screamed) – to keep you mildly entertained. The acting is fine but the CGI isn’t great. The “other side” looks more like a Halloween maze made out of skeletons than anything truly terrifying. If anything, I enjoyed the Ghost Hunters vibe brought in by Carrigan’s character since, like Kendra, I enjoy the occasional cheesy supernatural “reality” show.
- Decent amount of CGI work
- Some occasional goof jump moments
- Prdictable Plot
- Not enough horror