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Poltergeist 3D


Stars: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jared Harris, Jane Adams, Saxon Sharbino, Kyle Catlett, Kennedi Clements

Director: Gil Kenan

Another week, another remake.

Or, if it succeeds at the box-office, do not refer to it as a ‘remake’ but call it a reboot and then wait for the inevitable sequels.

It’s been 33 years since Tobe Hooper served up the original that bit hard at the box-office jugular and spawned two more Poltergeist profit-makers.

This time around, Javier Aguirresarobe’s 3D cinematography adds extra scares to what, efficiently scripted by David Lindsay-Abaire (who as a Pulitizer Prize-winning writer, clearly knows how to shape a story for maximum box-office appeal), is essentially the same story – but considerably noisier.

The setting is a typically ‘sanitized-by-Spielberg’ suburb where Sam Rockwell and Rosemary DeWitt and their three children move into their new home.

It doesn’t take long for youngest daughter Kennedi Clements to start behaving strangely and converse with invisible characters, her brother Kyle Catlett is unhappy in his new attic bedroom while the oldest sibling Saxon Sharbino would rather be back in their former home.

After which scares and suspense rack up to terrify everyone, supernatural creatures snatch Clements and then all hell breaks loose when television exorcist Jared Harris turns up to rescue Clements…

Serendipitously, director Gil Kenan doesn’t strive to prove himself an auteur and instead tells his ghost story fast and, when the special effects-laden climax kicks in, furiously, using 3D imagery, good movie magic and a tsunami of noise effectively to scare the audience shirtless.

Which, of course, should be a prime driving force for horror films.

Key performances are suitably subordinated to the story, with Clements and Catlett emerging impressively and Harris enjoying himself – and creating viewer enjoyment – with a performance that’s positively Royal Shakespearian at all the right moments.

Sam Raimi and his fellow producers can congratulate themselves on a successful reboot.

Alan Frank

USA 2015. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour.
93 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 22 May 2015