Poltergeist

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(2015) ★★★

Sky Movies Box Office: PREMIERE Monday 26 October, 12.15pm

Recently laid off work, Sam Rockwell moves his family into an  affordable new home built on the site of an old cemetery on the wrong  side of town. Director Gil Kenan made the Halloween cartoon treat  Monster House, so you’d imagine the remake of Steven Spielberg’s 1982  suburban classic (directed by Tobe Hooper in the year Spielberg made  ET) is in reasonably safe hands.

The truth is this new 3D-tweaked  Poltergeist is a respectable enough spook show that’s in no way any  improvement upon the original (and that includes the FX). It starts  with the casting. Sam Rockwell’s a terrific actor, so cheerfully  demented in pictures as different as The Green Mile and Choke. But  he’s in no way convincing as a suburban family man.

In the original,  Craig Nelson had a meatier role as the dad, being the salesman for the  Californian Cuesta Verde development that is here an Illinois estate  called Willow Point (actually in Toronto). New mom Rosemarie DeWitt,  too, pales in comparison to the warmth and emotion generated by JoBeth  Williams. Same goes the little girl, I’m afraid.

There’s no way  Heather O’Rourke’s angelic Carol Anne would have been allowed to utter  a line as tonally off as “It’s a joke, dumbass!” Which is how we’re  introduced to her substitute, little Madison (Kennedi Clements). She’s  talking to her brother Griffin (Kyle Catlett), an anxious boy. “He’s  just a nervous kid,” says Rockwell. “My brother was the same.”

DeWitt  does not find this reassuring: “Yeah, and now he lives alone in a  trailer park.” In any event, it’s Madison the ghosts target in a house  that comes with two additional spooky rooms: an attic and a basement  that turns into a sludge pool. The boy’s in the attic, with a freaky  toy clown collection in its cupboard.

The girl, of course, is sucked  into the ether, heard only through the TV. Who they gonna call? Irish  ghostbuster Jared Harris turns up in a pork pie hat, fresh from  hosting Haunted House Cleaners on the interweb. Where’s Zelda  Rubinstein when you really need her? It’s no wonder, really, that this  remake lacks the family dynamic and the emotional impact of Hooper’s  film. Not to mention a score as haunting as the one provided by the  late, great Jerry Goldsmith. The more I think about it, that  three-star rating seems a tad generous.

Certificate: 15

Duration: 101min

IMDB – Poltergeist

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Other Showings Date & Time
Sky Movies Box Office Tuesday, 27 October at 12:15AM
Sky Movies Box Office Tuesday, 27 October at 2:15PM
Sky Movies Box Office Tuesday, 27 October at 10:15PM
Sky Movies Box Office Wednesday, 28 October at 8:15AM
Sky Movies Box Office Wednesday, 28 October at 6:15PM
Sky Movies Box Office Thursday, 29 October at 4:15AM
Sky Movies Box Office Thursday, 29 October at 12:15PM
Sky Movies Box Office Friday, 30 October at 12:15AM
Sky Movies Box Office Friday, 30 October at 2:15PM
Sky Movies Box Office Friday, 30 October at 10:15PM
Sky Movies Box Office Saturday, 31 October at 8:15AM
Sky Movies Box Office Saturday, 31 October at 6:15PM
Sky Movies Box Office Sunday, 1 November at 4:15AM
Sky Movies Box Office Sunday, 1 November at 12:15PM
Channel 5 Monday, 2 November at 12:00AM
Sky Movies Box Office Monday, 2 November at 12:15AM