Legendary filmmaker Sam Raimi and director Gil Kenan reimagine and contemporize the classic tale about a family whose suburban home is invaded by angry spirits. When the terrifying apparitions escalate their attacks and take the youngest daughter, the family must come together to rescue her.
This movie has everything that you might expect in a haunted house story; port-holes to ‘the other side’, paranormal activity involving everything from strangely energised door handles, doors opening and closing by themselves, electrical devices including the iconic television that appear to move on their own, trees that seem to be watching you, crazed toy clowns, (oh the creepy clowns. I think I counted 10?) And of course, an unsuspecting middle-class family who is victimised from the beginning to the end. Unfortunately…and fortunately, depending how you look at it, the only vital part to this ghost recipe missing are the scary parts. There are plenty of ghoulish, creepy characters throughout but seldom are they life threatening and so fail to be truly scary. Having said that, there is one moment involving a sceptical technician that creates a little tension when his electric drill turns on him. However, there are far too few of these moments in the film for it to be correctly classified as a horror. I remember watching Spielberg’s Poltergeist and being freaked out and shaken at just about every turn and then also being surprised at the low classification rating. I also seem to recall the original taking a bit more time to build the character story arcs which seemed to be a little rushed with this movie.
Sam Rockwell who starred in ‘Moon’ brought the much needed X factor this new edition and remake of this Spielberg haunted house classic desperately needed. He was both comical and alluring, dramatic and spontaneous when required but unfortunately not in the movie enough. I also liked, Jared Harris, as Carrigan Burke the professional ghost hunter who brought more of the super-natural mystery to the film but unfortunately not enough of him either.
I am not sure if it’s because it takes a lot more to scare me than it once did or if this movie just lacked story and suspense but I am sure of one thing, I was able to get through the whole movie without feeling any kind of emotion slightly related to fear or otherwise for that matter. Actually, I recall laughing at a few of Sam Rockwell’s lines so there was emotion just not what you’d expect from a scary movie.
If you’re a parent that is concerned with what your kids are watching at the movies and want something more conservative that’s not going to scar your child’s soul with nightmares and ghouls, then this is an ideal movie to introduce your children to the horror genre. However, if you are looking for a date movie that is going ensure squeezing each other closely as you suffer through the terror… this is not the one for you. Perhaps you’d do better to rent Spielberg’s original. Okay, this movie may alter your child’s perspective on clowns. Oh the scary clowns!!