Poltergeist is a 2015 American 3D supernatural horror film directed by Gil Kenan and written by David Lindsay-Abaire. A remake of the 1982 film of the same name, the film stars Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jared Harris, and Jane Adams. It was released on May 22, 2015 by 20th Century Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and grossed over $95 million worldwide on a budget of $35 million.The film received negative reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 31%, based on 113 reviews, with an average rating of 4.8/10. The site's consensus reads: "Paying competent homage without adding anything of real value to the original Poltergeist, this remake proves just as ephemeral (but half as haunting) as its titular spirit." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 47 out of 100, based on 27 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Eric and Amy Bowen are a married couple looking to buy a house for themselves and their three children: 16-year-old daughter, Kendra, their 9-year-old son, Griffin, and 6-year-old daughter, Madison. Eric was recently laid off, but they are shown a house that has recently come on the market that fits their price range, so they purchase it and move in.
The first night, they hear strange noises in the walls, and Griffin finds a box of clown dolls that were left at the house. In the middle of the night, lights and electronic devices start turning on and off, as some unseen force appears to move through the home. The commotion wakes Griffin, and he goes downstairs and finds Maddie talking to an unknown presence inside the television. She tells Griffin someone is coming, and he attempts to unplug the TV, causing the lights to go out of control. Maddie then tells the family: "They're here" while touching their TV screen that has the ghost's hands pressing against the other side of the screen. The following evening, Eric and Amy go to dinner with their friends, leaving the three children at home. They learn that their house was built on an old cemetery, but the bodies were moved to a better neighborhood.
At the house, Kendra's phone begins emitting strange sounds and a glitching screen, and as she traces the noise and enters the garage, the floor cracks and a corpse's hand emerges and begins pulling at her foot. Griffin notices the clown dolls seem to be moving by themselves. One clown doll attacks him, but he destroys it and escapes from his bedroom. He finds Maddie in her room, scared, crouching in a corner, and tells her to stay while he goes to find Kendra. Maddie is then lured into her closet and becomes lost in an unending void. As she sees her bedroom drifting away further, she is dragged into the darkness by ghosts. Griffin, while running around the house, is grabbed by the branches of the old tree outside their house, which pulls him out to be hanging on the tree. Amy and Eric arrive home to see Griffin being tossed around in the tree branches, which releases its grip when they come close, while Kendra tells them she can't find Maddie.
The family hears Maddie's voice emanating from the television. Amy reaches at the television's screen while Maddie's static hand is seen to be touching Amy's hand on the other side of the screen. Amy and Griffin visit the Paranormal Research department for help. The staff sets up equipment in the house, and install GPS devices on everyone in the house. While trying to contact Maddie, Eric is ambushed in the closet by a ghost resembling her. Angered, he breaks down the closet wall, throwing a chair into the darkness inside the closet, and as the chair falls back into the living room of the house, it reveals a possible portal Maddie can escape through. The investigators realize that this haunting is a poltergeist. The lead investigator, Dr. Brooke Powell, decides to call occult specialist and television personality Carrigan Burke (revealed, much later, to be Powell's ex).
Carrigan explains that Maddie is a possible psychic, able to communicate with spirits. He reveals that the ghosts are trapped and are angry because only the headstones were moved to the new cemetery, but the bodies remained, and plan on using Maddie "to free them from their purgatory". Carrigan comes up with a plan to get Maddie back. He anchors a rope in Maddie's room and tosses it into the vortex. They attempt to use Griffin's toy drone to guide Maddie out, but it is immediately destroyed by the ghosts when inside the portal. Griffin, guilt-ridden over leaving Maddie alone in the first place, goes through the portal himself. When he finds Maddie, the ghosts attempt to destroy the rope to trap them, but Griffin and Maddie grab onto the rope and are brought back through the portal.
The family get in their car and begin to take their leave from the house, but the ghosts drag them back into the house and attempt to abduct Maddie again. The family saves her from being sucked into the portal, and Carrigan decides that as the only other psychic, he must go into the vortex and lead the spirits into the light. The Bowens flee as the house is destroyed by the spirits soaring into the sky as a beacon of light. The investigative team run to their equipment, looking for a sign that Carrigan managed to get back.
As the Bowens look for a new house, the realtor shows them a house with lots of closet space and an old tree in the backyard; the Bowens drive away laughing. During the end credits, it's revealed that Carrigan survived the incident and is back filming his ghost program, now hosting the show with Dr. Powell.
Why It Sucks
- The original 1982 version of the film (which was rated PG) was more frightening than this PG-13 remake. This version is barely even scary.
- The plot is mostly rehashed from the Poltergeist trilogy, with a few exceptions
- The creative ending of the 1982 version is replaced with an abrupt and unsatisfying one.
- There's an overabundance of cheap jump scares.
- Very insensitive due to the death of Dominique Dunne who was strangled by her boyfriend and Heather O' Rourke who had lots and lots of health problems as a child.
- There are some unnecessary changes.
- The family's surname in the original film was Freeling while in this remake, the surname is Bowen. It's not just the surnames, but the first names also: Steven was changed to Eric, Diane was changed to Amy, Dana was changed to Kendra, Robbie was changed to Griffin, and Carol Anne was changed to Madison.
Poltergeist received mixed to negative reviews from critics and audiences. The film currently holds a 31% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average of 4.8 out of 10 with a critic consensus that reads "Paying competent homage without adding anything of real value to the original Poltergeist, this remake proves just as ephemeral (but half as haunting) as its titular spirit."
The film grossed $23 million domestically on its opening weekend and made a total domestic gross of $47,425,125 and grossed $48,012,869 in foreign box offices. Overall, the film grossed $95,437,994 worldwide against its $35 million budget.
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