Clown­ing around again

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased 26 oc­to­ber 2015 | 15 | Blu- ray 3D/ Blu- ray/ DVD

Di­rec­tor Gil Ke­nan

Cast Sam Rock­well, Rose­marie

DeWitt, Jared Harris, Jane Adams

If you must up­date an old hor­ror, it makes sense to have a crack at Poltergeist. Though Tobe Hooper’s 1982 tale of a fam­ily plagued by supernatural dis­tur­bances has ma­jor “brand recog­ni­tion”, it’s far from per­fect. Ar­guably it’s more light show than hor­ror movie – more in­ter­ested in spec­ta­cle than scares.

Credit where credit’s due, this re­make in­stals some patches, swerv­ing com­mon sense ques­tions like, “Why would a fam­ily stay in a haunted house af­ter it’s been ‘ cleansed’?” and, “Who the hell buys their kid a creepy clown doll?”

But it makes mis- steps too. In the orig­i­nal, when five- year- old Carol Anne was sucked into some nether- di­men­sion, we could only guess at what was keep­ing her com­pany. Here, a drone’s sent fly­ing in, and the ca­daver- lit­tered CGI land­scape beamed back is, though tech­ni­cally im­pres­sive, less shiver- in­duc­ing than the mys­tery of the un­seen. There’s noth­ing here to match the orig­i­nal’s iconic “face- peel­ing” se­quence, and Jared Harris’s TV medium is no match for his pre­de­ces­sor. Plus, there’s a fun­da­men­tal prob­lem: in ’ 82, the no­tion of a spec­trally ab­ducted lit­tle girl com­mu­ni­cat­ing via a tele­vi­sion set had res­o­nance, be­cause TV static was part of ev­ery­one’s ev­ery­day ex­pe­ri­ence; in the age of 24- hour trans­mis­sion that’s no longer true. The re­sult’s a film which, though com­pe­tent, feels oddly low- key – and, pre­dictably, pretty point­less.

Ex­tras The DVD has an al­ter­nate end­ing, gallery and trail­ers. The Blu- ray adds an ex­tended cut with seven min­utes more footage. The Blu- ray 3D has both, with the the­atri­cal cut in 3D. Ian Ber­ri­man

Though com­pe­tent, it feels oddly low- key

The fam­ily’s car has a bumper sticker for Hooper High School – a nod to Tobe Hooper, di­rec­tor of the orig­i­nal film.

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