Movie Review: Did Poltergeist (2015) Stand Up To The Original ?

October 3, 2015

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely is the owner of HorrorFuel.com. She is an Executive Producer of "13 Slays Till Christmas" which is out on Digital and DVD and now streaming on Tubi. She has several other films in the works. Kelli is an animal lover and a true horror addict since the age of 9 when she saw Friday the 13th. Email: [email protected]

When I first heard that the 1982 classic horror film ‘Poltergeist’ was being remade I was in disbelief. I could not understand (and still don’t) why people insist on remaking classic movies. Last night I finally sat down and watched the remake.

The 2015 version of ‘Poltergeist’ was written by David Lindsat-Abaire and directed by Gil Kenan(Monster House). The cast includes Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Saxon Sharbino, Kyle Catlett, Kennedi Clements, Jared Harris,  Jane Adams, Susan Heyward and Nicholas Braun.

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Sam Rockwell plays the role of Eric Bowen, an unemployed father of three. Rosemarie DeWitt plays Amy Bowen, a writer-housewife who’s children Kendra (Sharbino), Griffin (Catlett) and Madison (Clements). The family have moved into a new home in a large subdivision, not knowing that the home was built on top of a grave yard. There are several things that remake has in common with the original, but it also has several differences. The focus of the original film was a little girl named Carol Ann (Heather O’Rourke), in the new version the little girl’s name is Madison.

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Basically they took the original film, updated it and added a ton of special effects. While concentrated on making the film look good they forgot to make sure the characters were believable. Rockwell and DeWitt’s characters were nonreactive, dull, and rarely showed any emotion at all. I’m sorry but if my daughter had been sucked in to a world filled with grotesque angry spirits I would be freaking out. Their characters acted as if it was nothing. Young Kyle Catlett played the son, Griffin, which was the most impressive and well played role in the film. You really buy that he is terrified. That kid has a bright future in acting.

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So, which is better, the new special effects heavy remake or the original? There is no question, the original beats out the competition hands down. It’s true that ‘Poltergeist’ (2015) has impressive effects, but the original’s cast wins out.  Don’t misunderstand me, the remake is not bad, I liked it, save for the dull acting. The characters in the 1982 film were better and when it comes to a movie, I have to be able to connect and care about all the characters, especially when they have a lot of screen time. I encourage you to watch both films and decide for yourself which one is the best.

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