Sunday, May 24, 2015

Movie Review: Poltergeist

A horror movie is really the same beast, just dressed up in different clothing.  I keep trying to convince myself that I’ll see something new or amazing, some new angle for a story that makes me stop and think.  It happens once in a while, I’d say one out of every ten horror movies I see something interesting.  This was not one of them, and not surprisingly.

If you’re born in the 1980’s, or a horror buff, then you’ve certainly seen the original Poltergeist movie, featuring Coach, or Craig T Nelson, as he might be known by.  This movie didn’t have any known names and the story was a retelling of the original with a few slight changes, a few interesting mixes of the modern horror genre mixed with this classic.

The Poltergeist movie centers around a family that moves into a new home and strange things quickly ensue.  In this iteration, the father has lost his job and is looking for work and the mother is an author who isn’t writing.  This leaves the family open to the desperation you might see if you watch A Haunting, which is a really solid one-hour show on Destination America, if you’re interested.  In so many of those episodes, the hauntings are exacerbated by the fact that the family is trapped both by the entity as well as the inability to move out, financially.  This holds true for this movie as well.

The hauntings in the story escalate faster than it did in the original and the story is also focused on the little brother more than the rest of the family.  Possible SPOILERS ahead.  Once the youngest daughter vanishes, the story shifts to the little brother realizing he should have protected the little sister instead of being a coward.  Much of the story, and the changes to it, unfold around that caveat.

Overall, I can’t say this was a bad movie.  It kept my interest and had a good number of scares that were wholly unexpected.  At the same time, it felt like I’d seen this before and in a way I had, because I’ve seen the original and some of the sequels.  

The one difference I feel worth noting was the inclusion, for the youngest daughter, of this stuffed animal, a pig-a-corn.  There is a point in the story where one of the academics who is helping the family is trying to explain, to the son (again), how his sister is both here and not here, by drawing a circle on two sheets of paper and overlapping them.  In some sense, a pig-a-corn is a lot like that, it is two things at once, though neither can exist.  You can tell how engaging this movie was if I was able to come up with this observation.

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