Poltergeist: A Return to the Classics

They’re here. Again. Photo courtesy: MGM.com


By Taylor Berrier

Do I believe in the supernatural? Don’t be silly… But watching the new Poltergeist had me doubting myself. Let’s step into a time machine, back to before I was born. These were the days before we were glued to our electronic devices and a bunch of birds (The Birds) and your imagination was a real, fear-inducing combination. But the modern era of evolved cinematography, and along with a convincing cast, and even the suspensefully-driven, dynamic orchestra lends a more realistic, more terrifying scare to the viewer; advancements in CGI definitely helps as well. All this allows Poltergeist to direct our eyes away from our smartphones and make us start to question what is real.

Poltergeist preys on the most human of instinctual fears, but most importantly, like any good movie should, it’s able to evoke strong emotions from a personally subjective standpoint. We all find something to relate back to in the movies we see. How does one relate to a fictitious film of the horror genre? A movie can’t make us believe in ghosts, it can’t give us fears we didn’t already have, and the 3D can’t actually reach out and grab you. Then what can it do? It can try it’s hardest to take us back to a time when we believed all this to be more than possible. It can remind us what it is like to see the world through the eyes of a child — innocent, pure, and naive.

Sam Rockwell (Moon, Iron Man II) stars in this reboot of the series which produced three films contained in that era of long-haired rock bands and cocaine-fueled rages, the 80’s. Ok, that’s not all the 80’s was known for, but who exactly remembers the 80’s?

This new Poltergeist is a departure of old, adding an exuberant array of new visuals, this time void of gore (no blood, no problem). Despite the lack of the red stuff, the visualization of hallucinations and paranoia don’t hold back. Even though some moments are cliche and predictable, leaving many an audience member giggling to themselves or even LOLing, I knew much of the laughter I heard was actually coming from grown men really trying to mask the scent of the fear oozing from their pores. A friend had told me PG-13 rated horror movies can’t scare like R rated horror movies. To that, Poltergeist asks the question, “Why not?”

This reboot includes Sam Raimi with a producer credit. This contributes to the movie’s execution of style and form when compared with the original, which had been co-written by the infamous Steven Spielberg and released in 1983. I did not arrive on to this planet until 1989, at which time the third Poltergeist, being released just the previous year, had proven the concept of a haunted house to be a dull one, and thus no more films were made. By the time I was age appropriate to understand horror films, every one was already desensitized by the gorier slasher genre of horror and the increasingly better graphics in film. This allowed the original Poltergeist to slip past my, at the time, very conservative guardians and right onto my 21 inch RGB color model television, and leaving me only with a fear of lingering static on the screen.

Go check out Poltergeist now, as it just hit theaters this weekend.