Director: Gil Kenan
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jared Harris
Release Date: Available on 3D & 2D Blu-Ray & DVD September 29, 2015
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Fox 2000 Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures present POLTERGEIST, from legendary filmmaker Sam Raimi (“Spider-Man,” Evil Dead,” “The Grudge”) and director Gil Kenan (“Monster House”). It contemporizes the 1982 classic about a family whose suburban home is haunted by evil forces. When terrifying apparitions escalate their attacks and hold the youngest daughter captive, the family must come together to rescue her before she disappears forever.
Based on the wonderfully eerie and memorable 1982 film directed by Tobe Hooper, this modern remake of ‘Poltergeist’ follows the Bowen family as they are forced to move into a new home as a result of financial issues. Shortly after settling in at their new place, the children begin to notice unexplainable occurrences which are naturally written off by their folks as childhood imaginings. When all three children are attacked one evening and their youngest daughter mysteriously vanishes to an unknown location yet is mysteriously able to communicate via the static on their television, they call in a specialist to deal with the haunting, although what they are truly dealing with is far more terrifying than anything they could have initially imagined.
Gil Kenan (2006’s phenomenal ‘Monster House’) directed the remake of ‘Poltergeist’ and he does a capable job at the helm, expertly executing the scares and guiding this new take on the classic film along quite adequately to its explosive conclusion. The film also owes a great deal to the talented individuals included in the cast, including Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jane Adams, Jared Harris and more, all of whom deliver solid performances in each of their respective roles.
This modern remake of ‘Poltergeist’ is one of the better constructed and executed horror remakes in recent memory. While it doesn’t find its way to the heights of such greatness such as the original did, it nonetheless manages to deliver a creepy ride throughout, filled with plenty of eerie moments, scares, not to mention a capable cast and some impressive nods to the original that are nearly spot-on in comparison and almost guaranteed to bring a grin to the faces of fans. While ‘Poltergeist’ may not be a horror film many will want to blind buy, I would still highly suggest checking it out, it’s well worth the cost of a rental at the very least and a perfect selection for a creepy and fun evening horror film that makes the wise choice to deliver scares as opposed to gore.
For those interested in some specifics regarding the advertised Extended Cut which is exclusive to the Blu-ray release, it runs approximately 7 minutes longer than the theatrical cut (which is also included on the Blu-ray release) and includes a number of new and extended scenes, a significant portion of which I was pleasantly surprised to find contained a number of creepy new sequences, plus some additions to other scenes, at least a couple of which were wonderful inclusions and added notably to the creep factor. While the Extended Cut of ‘Poltergeist’ may not change your opinion of the film as a whole, it definitely contributes some far more significant and entertaining content than the majority of Extended Cuts that we see regularly flooding the shelves; those who enjoyed the film will almost certainly appreciate at least a few of the additions.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Poltergeist’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks outstanding as a whole, delivering a sharp, detailed and nearly flawless video presentation throughout, holding up impressively even during the darkly lit and fast moving sequences of which there are a fair number in the film, never causing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a phenomenal high definition video presentation complemented by a more than substantial bitrate that shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds fantastic, providing a clean, discrete and aggressive audio presentation, utilizing all seven available channels with regularity to surround the viewer with a barrage of suitably creepy and hard hitting auditory effects, including everything from the rain pouring outside to the clown doll creeping from one speaker to the next behind the viewer, while never resulting in any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is quite an impressive 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that perfectly accentuates the overall creepiness of the film.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Poltergeist’ doesn’t contain much in the way of bonus content, although it does include a couple of small extras. Included on the release are an ‘Alternate Ending’ (running approximately 2 minutes in length) and a ‘Still Gallery’.