poltergeist | gil kenan | david lindsay-abaire | sam rockwell | rosemarie dewitt | kennedi clements | ghost | ghosts | haunted house | haunted | thriller | united states | saxon sharbino | remake | kyle catlett | jared harris | jane adams | susan heyward | clown | clowns
Director: Gil Kenan
Writer: David Lindsay-Abaire
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt and Kennedi Clements
This film I actually caught with my family. My parents were visiting me in Cleveland and took me as well as my ex-girlfriend to see this in the theater. I wrote this review that night and haven’t revisited it since then if I’m going to be perfectly honest. The synopsis for this remake is a family whose suburban home is haunted by evil forces must come together to rescue their youngest daughter after the apparitions take her captive.
We begin with a family looking at a house. The father is Eric Bown (Sam Rockwell) and he’s married to Amy (Rosemarie DeWitt). Their eldest daughter is Kendra (Saxon Sharbino) and she is the typical teen with an attitude. She doesn’t like the house, because she is not close to her friends or any of the popular places. Their son is the next child, Griffin (Kyle Catlett). He is afraid of the dark and pretty much everything. Amy believes this was done by losing him at the mall some years ago which has left trauma. Their youngest is Madison (Kennedi Clements), who is a cute kid and full of life.
We learn that they had a nicer house, but Eric was laid off. Amy has been a stay at home mom who is trying to work on a book, but she has not found time for it with everything going on. They’ve had to downgrade due to the lack of funds coming in.
From the beginning of moving in, Madison begins to talk to something that is in her closet. Griffin asks her who she is talking to and she tells him it is no one. She continues to do this when no one is watching her.
Griffin doesn’t like his room because of the skylights and the tree that is outside. He then hears something coming from a small door in his room. He opens it and to find a bunch of creepy clown dolls. He then interrupts his parents as they try to get intimate. Eric goes up to the room to prove to him that there is nothing to be afraid of. A squirrel scares both of them. It should also be pointed out that Kednra is watching ghost hunting show that features Carrigan Burke (Jared Harris).
The next morning, Eric goes to the store to get some supplies. Amy, Griffin and Madsion are planting flowers along the sidewalk and the boy uncovers a bone. Eric believes it to be an animal, but is it?
Some strange and terrifying things happen when Eric and Amy goes to try get him a new job. Kendra is left in charge, but her along with the other children encounter different scary things. This also results in Madison disappearing. The family tries to figure out what happened to her, but are at their wits end. Carrigan might be the person they need to help figure out what happened.
At the time of seeing this movie, I thought this was a pretty good remake at some of the things that it did. I am updating this review without having gave it a rewatch, but seeing what I wrote originally and from what I remember about this movie. There are a quite a few scenes from the original that are reshot in this one, but I do like that they changed these parts up. I’m not a big fan of a shot for shot remake and this one is not one of them for the most part. I do think that something they do well is updating the technology.
This one wasn’t as scary to me as the first time I watched the original. It could have been my age and not knowing what to expect that influenced me. Knowing the plot points I think is a part of why I didn’t find this as scary. Also being a remake does hinder this one, because the story aside from being updated slightly, it is pretty much the same as the original. I also kind of felt that the ending was a bit rushed as well as it took a long time to get to the climax. It is a bit predictable as well.
Something I did think that was good though was the acting. I’m a big fan of Rockwell and I thought his performance was pretty solid. DeWitt I also thought was good as the rock of the family who is there trying to get everyone together. Sharbino did fine as the angst teen daughter while Catlett was the terrified child of the family. I do think he overplays against the original. Clements I already said is full of life and I think she does solid as the updated version of Carol-Ann. I’m also a fan of Harris and thought he was good from what I could remember.
The one thing that did stick with me is that this movie decides to show us where the daughter is being held. I do know it was CGI heavy, but I still remember enjoying showing this to us as the audience. I do really need a rewatch of this to see if it holds up now or not.
With that said, I still feel that this film is worth a viewing. I personally didn’t feel it was as scary as the original. The acting is good and the story although not original is updated to the times and has made some changes. This is a pretty solid haunted house film that is enhanced by the horror of involving children. The film wasn’t as scary as I wanted, but that could be me knowing what would happen. This one didn’t have any surprises for me, which was a bit of a disappointment. I would recommend at least giving this one a viewing.
My Rating: 6.5 out of 10