Poltergeist is a horror film which is about a family who moves into a brand new home that was unfortunately built on a cemetery and is now haunted by a poltergeist. The film comes directed by Gil Kenan who some may know as the director of City of Ember (2008) or Monster House (2006). Poltergeist stars Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Saxon Sharbino, Kyle Catlett, Kennedi Clements and Jared Harris.
Poltergeist starts off interesting enough with the family moving into their brand new home and we watch them slowly settle in. It starts out like many horror films do with everything happy at the start, but things start to go wrong fairly quickly, with all types of craziness happening in that house. We watch as things develop, get complicated and then conclude. But by the end of it all, it’s not the best storyline ever, as a lot of the characters aren’t developed and many of them have strange reactions to what is going on, such as the father not really seeming bothered all that much about his daughter being in danger.
For a horror film, Poltergeist has a lot of humour within it, a lot of jokes here and there, as well as remarks from characters that are funny at times. The father of the family Eric (Sam Rockwell), got quite a lot of laughs throughout the film. But there is a problem with this tone for Poltergeist because in the cinema I was in, during quite a few of the scary scenes, people were laughing at them when they should have been scared. Due to people not being scared but laughing, it made Poltergeist feel really silly at times. The film does come with a few good well placed scares, but mainly these are all jump scares which are fun, but it needed something more.
The actors all do a fine job. Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt really appear to have good on screen chemistry in the beginning of the film. Young Kennedi Clements who plays Madison in Poltergeist, is very good in all her scenes, for a young kid she does really well. Jared Harris who some may know for his role in the TV series Mad Men makes quite an impact when he appears, although his character maybe could have been better portrayed, particularly towards the end.
Gil Kenan did do well when it came to the look of the set designs and the way the Poltergeist’s world was presented. Some of the more ghostly figures looked well made, while the music editing was one of the higher points of the film. There are some good sound effects and noises placed throughout the film in the beginning and these are all well done. I did see the film in 3D and while there are a lot of special effects, it’s nothing special really, so you won’t miss much if you see this in 2D at all.
Overall Poltergeist’s main issue really is with the screenplay which seems to fall apart by the end of it and the funny tone that the director Gil Kenan chose doesn’t work in its favor either when it comes to being scary, but it does bring a few laughs. The actors do well though with Sam Rockwell, Rosmarie Dewitt and Kennedi Clements being the main standouts. Poltergeist is entertaining, but it felt to me to be more of a light horror film that can be fun to watch, but it’s not something that will keep you up at night scared. It is possible that younger teens may enjoy the film much more than most people as it’s good for a light first horror film experience at the cinema.