“They’re here!” Tobe Hooper’s ‘80’s haunted house classic (produced and written by Steven Spielberg) about a family who experiences paranormal phenomenon in the guise of “poltergeists” (German term for ghosts who make a lot of ruckus) gets the remake treatment from Ghost House Pictures, the production company run by genre vets and long-time collaborators Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert. Considering that the original movie (which spawned a couple of sequels) came out over 30 years ago, this remake shouldn’t really be a surprise but, still, it is an utterly unnecessary and wasted effort which only served as the latest example that Hollywood greenlights such remakes simply because it can.
While the original ‘Poltergeist’ had an eminently likeable family in the Freelings (played by “Coach” Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams and Heather O’Rourke as the angelic Carol Anne), the remake’s Bowden family is a decidedly less interesting bunch. Also, one of the best characters from the original was the spiritual medium sent in to help the Freelings in their supernatural predicament, Tangina, portrayed by Zelda Rubinstein. The remake replaced her colorful character with a TV celebrity “Ghost Hunter” named Carrigan Burke (Jared Harris) whom being described as “boring” and “bland” would be a gross understatement.
This remake is so “been there, done that” and filled with well-worn tropes that it makes ‘Insidious’ and its sequel look like masterpieces of horror by comparison. Unscary, unsuspenseful and uninspired, ‘Poltergeist 2015’ also failed miserably to connect with the new generation of moviegoers that is its intended target, although I’m sure this misfire won’t deter Hollywood from attempting to remake other horror “classics.”