So over a year ago my husband and I were at the theater when we saw a preview for the new Poltergeist movie coming out. Oh I was so excited. I kept thinking “Oh.. they better make an awesome clown scene. With today’s special effects they could do Amazing things. So we waited patiently for it to come out. Finally… it was here.. We joyfully handed over our bazillion dollars for two tickets and some popcorn and drinks (soda for him, water for me) and settled in to watch it. I was completely pissed off and disappointed when it was over. They completely ruined their chance at greatness with this remake! The clown scene was stupid, there was this tiny closet in the boy’s room filled with clowns but they never explained why.. yeah I was mad.
So today I’ve decided since it’s on demand for free I will watch it again to see if I’ve missed something. I’m going to review it as it goes along.
Right out of the starting gate… the realtor is telling them the tree has been there longer then anything else in the neighborhood… it’s a weeping willow… UH NO.. the original tree was an oak.. A mighty oak with solid branches, at least that’s what kind it looks like to me. I’ve been unable to find the exact kind online. They only threw this line in there to make the “tree scene” understandable later on in the movie. Also, it’s the middle child who has the “abilities”.. but the main point in the original is Carol Ann was born in the house and had the physic connection with the house. If you aren’t going to somewhat follow the concept of the movie, then it shouldn’t be a “remake” but a “sequel”.
The little girl in the movie (kinda has the same eye’s as Carol Ann) does have some abilities, as she talks with unseen people. They play with her to lure her and her brother in. So they are using the littlest one to get to the middle child who has the abilities. If you remember, Robbie (who is the middle child in the original) actual leaves to go stay with his grandma to get away from it because he’s terrified. Also…. if it’s a remake, why do they all have different names? I swear this should have been a sequel and not a remake. The boy “Griffin” is laying in his bed when he hears some music playing. He goes to investigate when he finds a hidden little cubby and pulls a string and all these clowns fall down. Why? Why were all those clowns hidden in there? What’s the back story to that? There is none.. they just threw those in there so they could have the clown scene later. The dad, “Eric” just tells the son “people collect weird things”… and son after a squirrel tears off out of the closet and around the room.
The whole concept of the original movie was the spirits wanted Carol Ann’s life force. Carol Ann and her mother were sensitives, which is why they were affected and not the men (or the oldest sister). This movie makes it seem as though it’s just a mean poltergeist trying to hurt them.. for no other reason then to hurt them.
The dad in this one… well he’s kind of an ass. He’s not the fine upstanding family man that the original one was.
Now the dinner scene.. they are telling the family that back in the 90’s they had family that lived there and they wouldn’t go see them because of the whole “cemetery” thing. They go on to explain that the builders moved the cemetery and built the houses.. and the Bowen’s tell them the realtor never mentioned it. So wait.. is this a remake or a sequel? If it’s a remake then they shouldn’t know the house was built on a cemetery.. but if it’s a sequel why was it billed as a remake?
Now had this been an original film.. it might have been pretty good… but this was a remake and in my opinion not a very good one. Yes they paid homage to the original in many different ways but there are just too many “put there on purpose” things to make you realize this is a remake.. because with out them you wouldn’t know.
Madison walks into the closet on her own accord to get her stuffed animal… that’s not how it’s supposed to be. They take her to get her life force, she doesn’t just offer it to them. The parents are very “calm” after they discover her in the TV, especially the father. Remember I said he’s an ass.. I stand by that.
Now we get into the really stupid part of this remake. They bring in the TV personality to “clean the house”. In the original they are filming the process but for research purposes. In this movie after they go to the college to get the help of the paranormal researchers (the mother went to that college, that’s how she knew to go there) the main researcher brings in her ex husband.. who happens to be a famous “ghosts hunter”. Instead of the infamous steak and chicken scene followed by the face tearing off scene, this time we get the father vomiting worms and seeing black ooze coming out of his eye’s and nose in the reflection of the faucet. Man.. they could have done some amazing effects w/ the whole face falling off scene… so disappointed.
I will say the closet scene where the jerk researcher almost had his head drilled into.. that was pretty cool. He got what he deserved.
In this version, we actually see the girl (well her shadow) in the house. It’s not just her voice through the TV. Of course when the dad follows it upstairs, it’s not really her, it’s a scary demon like child that attacks him.
Now, when the “cleaner” comes in, Carrigan goes up to the room and opens the door… where were the flying toys? Yeah yeah I know that they didn’t have to put every scene in but c’mon.. that was a classic scene. Carrigan tells the family that he doesn’t think they did move the bodies when they moved the headstones. That’s not how the family was supposed to find out.. bodies were supposed to pop up out of the ground!
When they start the process to getting Maddy back they give everyone a GPS tracker… umm how is that going to help if you go into purgatory? I mean my GPS loses signal in the dead zone down the street from here.. how the hell are they going to get a signal there if I can’t get one in the middle of a huge city? Then they decide to get the drone the father bought for the son, even though they are broke and he’s been out of work (I’ll touch on this more in a few minutes) into the closet. Now how are they going to control the drone in another dimension? I’m pretty sure the one’s you can buy at Target aren’t quite as good as the military ones. I do like the special effects though when they are looking through the drone into purgatory. That’s pretty cool. As they are all fighting over who goes into get get Maddison, Griffin decides to go in. He grabs the rope and in he goes. The parents just stand there screaming.. oh hell no.. I’d have gone in after him. Okay, when I saw this in the theater I thought maybe I missed a part.. maybe went to the bathroom or my kid called and I stepped out to answer the phone, but watching it again right now… nope.. I didn’t miss any part. They messed up! The scene where Eric tells Amy that everything is going to be alright and to go downstairs and wait at the rope, after she leaves he tells Carrigan this better work. He tells Carrigan to tell them to let Maddy go since he can talk to them. It shows Carrigan talking to them, telling them (into the closet) to let the child go, she’s done no harm. Next they show Griffin in purgatory with Maddy who is telling him they will never let her go, it’s then we see the ghostly figures grabbing the rope and tearing at it. It goes back to the bedroom where Eric and Carrigan are and the rope is coming out of the wall and Carrigan is laying on the floor beside Eric as if maybe the giant face from the original one jumped out and threw him backwards??? Except in this version, they don’t explain or show how he ended up on the floor behind and to the side of Eric when he was originally in front of Eric at the opening of the closet. Good to know I didn’t go crazy there thinking I was just missing something.
Okay.. so the family gets out.. they are in the car getting ready to leave when the oldest daughter asks Carrigan to say the line “the house is clean”.. thats when the Maddy says the house isn’t clean… that they didn’t go into the light because she didn’t go into the light. The SUV they are in suddenly gets battered and flung upside down into the house. The realize Maddy isn’t in the car when they see her on the floor where she’s picked up and flung upstairs. The special effects fo the bodies coming out of the closet to get her are wickedly awesome. Carrigan is outside telling the spirits to release their hold on the family.. makes me think of the Omen. Carrigan admits to Brook (a researcher who happens to be his ex wife) that he’s tired of faking it for the camera’s and goes in to save the family. Eric manages to get his family out when the window shuts on him. AS the house is caving in on itself he see Carrigan in the house who tells Eric he has a job to do and evaporates into the closet. They start to get into Brooks car to leave and that’s when the house explodes and the bodies start coming out of the ground and all hell starts breaking loose in the neighborhood. As the researchers are looking the camera they see the GPS lighting up.
Now they are looking at a new house and the realtor says “There’s lots of closet space” when Maddy says “Our last closet ate me”.. as the realtor is talking about the house and mentions the tree she turns to see that the family is gone.
Okay, so let me touch on the part of the father like I said I would. He’s been out of work for months since he was fired from the John Deere factory. The mother is a stay at home mom (writer who says she isn’t writing) and they have no income coming in. He goes to the store to buy stuff to make squirrel traps where 2 credit cards are over the limit before the third one finally works. That day he comes home with a new phone for the teen daughter because hers fried (she blamed Griffin but you know it’s the poltergeist even though they never say it) and the drone for the boy and pizza for Madison and a Pandora Jewelry for the mom. First off, how? How did he afford to get all of this when he already had 2 credit cards that were maxed out and a third that barely worked for the squirrel traps. Secondly, Why? Why would anyone go on a shopping spree if you’re out of money and out of work? I am currently not working due to medical reasons and my husband’s pay barely pays our bills after the court ordered alimony and child support comes out. There are many times I’d like to just go buy my kids things, but a) I can’t because we have no credit and b) I wouldn’t even if we did have the credit because I think things like rent and electric and groceries are more important then phones, drones and jewelry! That part made no sense to me.
The movie ends with Brook and Carrigan are now working together to film their show.
The original movie is supposedly haunted as many people were injured or died shortly after the making of it. The role of Carol Ann was played by Heather O’Rouke who died at just 12 years old.
“When filming was completed in June, Heather and her family went on a road trip from Chicago, to New Orleans, to Orlando and all the way back to Lakeside where they lived at the time. Heather was well until January 31, 1988, Super Bowl Sunday. She was unable to keep anything in her stomach and crawled into bed with her parents that night, saying that she didn’t feel well. The next morning, February 1, sitting at the breakfast table, she couldn’t swallow her toast or Gatorade. Her mother noticed her fingers were blue and her hands were cold. Kathleen called the doctor’s and was getting ready to put her clothes on when Heather fainted on the kitchen floor. When the paramedics came in, Heather insisted that she was “really okay” and was worried about missing school that day. In the ambulance, Heather suffered cardiac arrest and died on the operating table at 2:43 p.m. at the tender age of 12. Of all her achievements, Heather was proudest of being elected student body president of her 5th grade class in 1985.”
The role of Dana Freeling was played by Dominique Dunne who was strangled to death by her boyfriend at the age of 22.
“Then, at a party she met John Thomas Sweeney, the chef at popular LA nightspot Ma Maison. The two began a relationship, which turned stormy. Sweeney was uncontrollable and abusive (so abusive that Dominique did not need makeup to play the role of an abuse victim on Hill Street Blues (1981)). Dominique ended the relationship on October 30, 1982. That same night, a distraught Sweeney raced to her house, where she and actor David Packer were rehearsing a scene from V: The Final Battle (1984), dragged her outside, and strangled her, leaving her brain dead. Five days later, she was removed from life support and died, cutting short a brilliant career and leaving behind scores of shocked and angry loved ones.”
This movie is really their legacy. They both died so very young that they didn’t get a chance to make more of a mark in this world, which is very sad. The original Poltergeist to this day still gets me, especially knowing so many died that were in it or in the making of it. I feel this remake failed them and did not do justice to what could have been.
If you liked this remake.. I’m happy that you did. My husband enjoyed it. I however did not, and that’s my opinion that I have a right to. I mainly wrote this for those who haven’t seen it yet to let them know about it. I’m not saying don’t see it.. I”m just saying go in knowing its nowhere near as good as the original. And on that note.. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY… PLEASE… STOP MAKING REMAKES. They are now in the works of remaking “Dirty Dancing” “Roadhouse” “Ghostsbusters” (not the all female version, that’s a sequel) and I’ve heard maybe even Grease… really Hollywood… can’t you come up with any new ideas? We see how well the remakes are doing, any body remember “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?” (btw.. Charlie now plays Norman Bates on Bates Motel)…