Thursday, September 24, 2015

In short: Poltergeist (2015)

I’m not a very great admirer of the Spielberg/Hooper joint, so in principle, I shouldn’t harbour any strong feelings against a remake. On the other hand, what director Gil Kenan delivers here is such a bland, pointless and tepid outing I honestly don’t understand why anyone should bother with it when there’s an original that’s much better at being Poltergeist and so many other films much better at being horror films. The latter problem comes up specifically because the film borrows so many highly generic bits and pieces from other movies without ever actually making something out of them apart from a series of basically competent but uninvolving versions of more interesting things.

Additionally, Kenan shows little talent for setting up creepy scenes, nor for making effective use of the loud special effects sequences. The effects for their part are just uninspired in conception and frankly more than a little boring.

You’d think at least the film’s gestures towards grounding itself in another time than the original might lead somewhere, but the few nods towards modern technology and technological culture don’t have much of a point, and its idea of its central family having come down economically suffers from the simple fact that incessant complaints about only being able to afford a really big house (one must assume they were inhabiting Buckingham Palace before) and one credit card makes the characters sound like rich whiners more than like people in actual financial trouble. Oh noes, Mum might have to work! And like with pretty much anything else in Poltergeist 2015, there’s actually little point to the economical sub plot anyway, with no thematic tissue connecting it to anything else going on, most certainly not the central haunting. It’s something that’s in the film to help fill out the running time without actually meaning anything.

The cast, all the while, is absolutely overqualified for the things the script by David Lindsay-Abaire has them to. The actors are certainly not putting any more work in than the film actually asks from them in performances that aren’t exactly indifferent but certainly don’t show much enthusiasm or creativity. Like everything else about Poltergeist 2015, the acting is basically competent yet bland.

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