Reviewed by: Gabriel Mohler
demons in the Bible
Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer
Sam Rockwell … Eric Bowen
Rosemarie DeWitt … Amy Bowen
Jared Harris … Carrigan Burke
Saxon Sharbino … Kendra Bowen
Nicholas Braun … Boyd
Jane Adams … Dr. Claire Powell
Kennedi Clements … Madison Bowen
Susan Heyward … Sophie
Kyle Catlett … Griffin Bowen
Soma Bhatia … Lauren
Karen Ivany … Barbara Stoller
L.A. Lopes … Cashier
|Director:||Gil Kenan—“City of Ember” (2008), “Monster House” (2006)|
Sam Raimi, etc.
Fox 2000 Pictures
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|Distributor:||Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation|
My thoughts about this movie are summed up in one word: WHY? The original “Poltergeist” movie was just fine. What was the point in remaking it? The day before I saw this remake, I watched the original 1982 film, which was directed by Tobe Hooper and produced by Steven Spielberg. I was very impressed with it! It really should have just been left as a classic. The plot is the same as the original: a family gets attacked by ghosts, who kidnap the daughter. The family then has to travel to the other plane to get their daughter back. Only a few minor changes were made to the plot.
The moral quality of this film is about the same as the original. There’s more language and some minor problems that weren’t in the original, but the objectionable content that was in the original is not as present in the remake.
In this film, the kids don’t misbehave as much as they did in the original (but they still do, some). But neither film had very much rebellion in it. In the remake, there’s a stupidly unnecessary scene where two of the investigators are talking about their divorce and arguing over whether she misses him or not. There is no sexual content in the original film; in this remake, the husband and wife make some suggestive, but non-explicit, comments to each other, and the husband is taking off his pants just as they’re interrupted. Even though the characters are married, I frown on this scene because there is no reason for it, other than to have a dash of sexual content in the movie.
The 1982 film is one of the movies that helped pave the way for the creation of the PG-13 rating. The remake is rated PG-13, but the violence in the remake is actually much less disturbing than the violence in the original. The famous face-tearing hallucination that was in the original is toned way down in the remake; the man just sees crud coming out of his mouth and eyes, and when it falls to the sink, there are maggots in it. Still gross, of course, but not brutal like the original hallucination scene. The corpses, likewise, are not as gross. When the ghosts appear as corpses, they look more like aliens, because they don’t appear to be rotting. There’s only one corpse that pops out of a coffin. The scene where Maddie comes out of the “light” isn’t as gross either.
Overall, however, neither movie is too gross. In both, the gross-outs are all brief and minor compared to the entirety of the movie. Most of the horror comes from the peril, suspense, and jump scares. The remake actually shows inside the ghost plane, unlike the original. It’s just like an old-school ghostly spook scene. So the original is scarier than the remake, but the scariness of the original is usually no less appropriate than the scariness of the remake.
Language includes about ten misuses of God’s name, five s-words, a loud “dumb@$$” from a young girl, and one of “d**n,” “hell,” and “p***ed off.” The teenage girl apologizes to her dad by saying, “I’m sorry; I’ve been such a b***h to you.” The apologize is definitely sincere, and at least she was insulting herself, but it’s still sad that she didn’t choose a better word.
This is one of those films that Christians will debate over, just like the “Insidious” franchise. There’s not as much that will be questioned in “Poltergeist,” though. The only problem that some Christians will take with this movie (besides the content already mentioned) is the fact that it centers around ghosts. This is not the typical ghost movie about spirits that remained on Earth. In this movie’s fantasy world, spirits died and couldn’t find the light that they supposedly travel through after they die—which presumably leads to their eternal destiny. This is not Biblical, but there’s nothing in the film that directly attacks Christianity. Fantasy, by definition, is contradiction of reality. And you just have to understand, when watching films like this, that fantasy is being used not to contradict Scripture, but to tell a story from the perspective of “if this could happen…” The original and remake are exactly the same on this note.
There are definitely positive messages in the story. The family’s troubles, just like the trials of real life, bring the family together in a special way. They love their daughter enough to take huge, scary risks to save her. So this isn’t just one of those cheap horror flicks that consists of a bunch of pointless freak-outs. Again, this goes for both the original and the remake.
Morally, if you’re comfortable with fantasy, both movies are actually pretty decent. Even the remake’s quality isn’t too poor itself—but for a remake, it’s terrible (and the moviemaking quality loses a star because of that). The original movie was spectacular, warm, and rich. The remake is basically the opposite of those things. If you’ve seen the original, don’t see the remake; you’ll be disappointed. If you’ve seen the remake, watch the original, and you’ll see what I mean.
The remake did have some interesting new minor elements that the original didn’t have, but it condensed the original way too much, rushing through it; it kind of seemed lazy. The original revealed an important explanation to the mystery at the end, making a sort of surprise ending; in the remake, it’s revealed halfway through the film, taking from the effect of the ending. The children’s acting in the remake is good, but the adults” acting is sometimes good and sometimes poor. There’s barely any emotion in the remake.
Alright, I’ll quit now. Bottom-line: Even though the remake is no more offensive than the original, the original is better in almost every other way, so, of course, I recommend it instead of the remake.
Violence: Mild to moderate / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.