Thursday, October 8, 2015

31 Days of Halloween 2015: Poltergeist

2015, Gil Kenan (City of Ember) -- download

You know, I wasn't convinced Sam Rockwell could pull off being a dad & family man. He always plays the dorky character who cannot keep a straight line. But as we settled into the story of a dad leading his family to a new neighbourhood, because he has been out of work for so long they cannot afford their last house, the dorkiness kind of works. King of the Dad Jokes. And once the movie leads the daughter to the other  of the TV screen, he really owns it. Oh, did I spoil it for you? Really?  You are not not intimately aware of the original Poltergeist and its child eating closet ? A whispered, "They're here....." is not part of your pop culture lexicon?  Poor you.

So, its not a new house, so part of me immediately wondered, "Then why this family? Why not the family who had the house before them?" Sure, everyone knows it used to sit above a graveyard and who wants the power lines so close to a large neighbourhood?  Well, Hamilton of course. Cough. Anywayz, its not the house but the daughter she is a sensitive that the evil dead things on the other side want to help them reach "the light". That part never struck me as well thought through. The Light? Are these scary mofos going to make it into said Light, assuming some semblance of Judeo Christian mythology?  Nuh uh, they are sacrificing a child to get there; I would expect something with a red bulb, something on the ground of this Other Realm, not the classic white light in the sky.

Some had accused the movie of being a photocopy of the first. In basic plot, yes. In recreating all the classic scenes: grabby trees, evil clowns.... sorry, toy clowns, TVs with child's voices, ropes into closets and out through ceilings, etc. All the great stuff is there -- alas, no Hulk toy riding a horse. And they update the scary little lady with Jared Harris as Carrigan Burke, the psychic soldier with his own reality TV show. Burke is incredible, a guy who runs a show that everyone doubts but has encountered so much real real evil entities, he has the scars to prove it. He knows what is going on, and gets right down to saving the girl. But the movie does really feel new.

In the end, I rather enjoyed this light hearted romp into recreation. It was well pulled off, but came and went from the collective mind, that I don't know anyone who even knows it happened. It is original feeling but not enough so, nor skillfully created enough to really, truly stand out. Like much of the horror genre, it remains OK, a stable, solid example of the genre. If I truly enjoyed anything, it was the obvious truly heartfelt connectivity of this family, and the noble switchover of son Griffin, from scared wallflower into the hero he needs to be, to protect his little sister.