Film review: Poltergeist (15, 94 mins)

Poltergeis: Kennedi Clements
Poltergeis: Kennedi Clements
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Contemporary upgrade of horror masterpiece

They’re back!... The malevolent spirits from Tobe Hooper’s 1982 horror resurface in director Gil Kenan’s contemporary update, which supplants old-school shocks with a whirlwind of computer-generated hocus pocus.

The original film was a masterpiece of sustained creepiness and inspired wild theories about a curse – supposedly borne when filmmakers used actual skeletons in the swimming pool scene – to explain the deaths of four cast members including angelic 12-year-old lead actress, Heather O’Rourke.

Regrettably, the might of modern technology dilutes the shock of the neat set-up and renders this revamp of Poltergeist an entirely scare-free affair.

Screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire appears to have been influenced by modern horror films including Insidious and Annabelle, adding demonic toy clowns and a reality TV ghost hunter to his volatile mix. The iconic scene with a little girl and a flickering TV screen is also recreated.

In unconvincing fits and bursts, Kenan’s film strives to set itself apart from the past, including the use of 3D that only really makes sense for a nasty moment with a drill.


Star rating: 4/10