How are dreadful remakes still a thing of the Hollywood bloodline that is alternatively known as the movie business? I guess the reason must be the business term in that sentence, as tuning out a remake or reboot of a popular franchise usually translates into guaranteed profit. If only this was said to be the same for the quality outputted.
Poltergeist (2015 edition) is, unfortunately, one of those said remakes that explores the life of yet another family experiencing supernatural occurrences and haunting visions of the dead in their recently purchased house. Eric, played by Sam Rockwell and his wife Amy (Rosemarie DeWitt) is the unlucky married couple that moves in with their three children Kendra, Griffin, and Madison who is their youngest daughter. You can see where this is going, can’t you?
The film is barred with various plot absurdities and sub-plots that lead to nowhere making you wonder why they chose to remake the original in the first place (it was great the first time around). For example, Eric is recently unemployed and is looking for a new job in the town. We often see Eric and his wife attend dinners with neighbors of the community in which he briefly networks with one of the hosts, in the possibility of working with his company. This allows him one time to be distracted and miss calls by Griffen who is attempting to reach him due to the ‘strange’ noises he hears. Such a sub-plot is beyond absurd and in turn is a wasted effort in order to build suspense.
Whilst remakes these days aim to serve a purpose in updating the visual effects of a film that was once made 30 years ago or to build upon some of the flaws of the original, this film does none of those and in fact, makes it worse. Instead of building up suspense cleverly through character action and responses, the film attempts to use cliche ‘jump’ scares to shock its audience. The child actors, unfortunately, over-act their roles and the potential acting chops of its lead Sam Rockwell go to waste as he is lowered to the level of a lazy tired old family man.
The fact that it’s classified as a horror film in which not even one of the characters present dies or is somewhat injured in any way, begs to question how it even got such a genre rating. In the film’s final act, a television psychic introduced to help the family gets swallowed up into the undead vortex and doesn’t return leading me to believe in hope that a character was being killed off. But during the end credits, it’s revealed that the psychic survived the incident and is back to filming his ghost TV program without any explanation of how he managed to get out.
It’s aspects like these that make this remake just another pointless form of viewing in a list of bad horror films that only seems to be accumulating more and more (Insidious 3, Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension). When you can’t relate to the film’s characters and you can’t care for whether or not they live or die, it’s hard to care for the film at all.