Poltergeist – Extended Cut (Blu-ray Review)

PoltergeistWhat a load of crap. The remake of “Poltergeist” is filled with bizarre and misguided choices. Instead of reimagining the original, which was promised a year ago, the filmmakers have instead produced a near shot-for-shot remake. They reimagined the names; maybe that’s what they were referring to. Oh, and you get to see what’s happening inside the wall, so I suppose that’s different. But wait, showing us all the ghosts in the other dimension isn’t creepy at all! They’re all CGI nonsense!




We meet this family, the BOWENS as they’re moving into a brand new home as a result of the father, Eric Bowen (Sam Rockwell) recently losing his job at John Deere. Out of all the strange decisions, the John Deere mention makes me most confused. It’s so unnecessarily specific; I half-expected him to travel into the wall on a tractor at the end.

For a film about a family in peril, the family really doesn’t do a whole lot for most of the film. There’s the mother, Amy (Rosemary DeWitt), the older daughter Kendra (Saxon Sharbino), the son, Griffin (Kyle Catlett), and the youngest daughter, Madison (Kennedi Clements). They all sort of enter and exit scenes with nothing going on between them….almost like ghosts. We find out that Kendra loves celebrity ghosthunter Carrigan Burke (Jared Harris). While talking with her friend back home, they become giddy when Burke proclaims “this house is clean,” after cleansing a home. It’s a pretty dumb saying, and it’s a lazy way to introduce this character. Why set him up early, anyway? There’s no need for the audience to be introduced early on. And the daughter doesn’t even seem to be someone who would be interested in paranormal shows.

At least it’s a little better than Griffin, who likes camera drones and nothing else, apparently. He’s terrified of clowns, because he freaks out when hidden clowns pour onto him from inside the closet. To be fair, I’d freak out as well. That clown that’s one the cover? It’s in the film for about five minutes. If that.

The muddles voices from the television in the original still holds up; it’s a quiet, effective moment which makes the viewer uncomfortable. In our 2015 version, we have tons of hands touching the screen from the inside. There’s no grace to it, no buildup. If you told me that the script was one page, and all it read was, “Remember the original? We’re going that but louder and more extreme!” Remember how otherworldly Zelda Rubinstein was? Well, get ready for Jared Harris! There’s nothing memorable about him! Who needs the eerie calmness of Rubinstein when we can have an obnoxious television personality! Why not have him have a romantic history with one of the other paranormal investigators, and this case will reunite them?!? BRILLIANT.

While Rockwell is the main actor, he’s absent from a lot of the final half, standing in the background and nodding his head every once in a while with DeWitt, a lovely actress who has even less to do. Griffin becomes the hero of the film, overcoming his fear of life by entering the dimension with his drone to save his sister. Come on, we all saw that one coming, right?

“Poltergeist” is directed by Gil Keenan, who made the brilliant “Monster House,” a cartoon which is creepier than this live-action update. That film had a strong style to it, there was passion behind it. “Poltergeist” has no enthusiasm to it, no sense of wonder.

Maybe we need to venture into the spirit world and recuse Gil Keenan.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: The film is pretty dark, but the details are impeccable. You see ever tree branch, every crack in the clown face, and all the spirits of the netherworld. The fine details are very impressive.

Depth: The details make the foreground and onscreen characters pop three-dimensionally throughout. Just fast forward to the spirit world for a sense of the incredibly depth of field.

Black Levels: Like the detail and clarity, the black levels are also impeccable here, deep and inky.

Color Reproduction: This isn’t exactly a colorful film. In fact, for the first half, many colors are appropriately muted. But when the dimension opens up, the screen dazzles with lightning of various colors.

Flesh Tones: All look healthy and natural throughout.

Noise/Artifacts: Nada.



Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1; French (Canada) Dolby Digital 5.1; French DTS 5.1; Spanish DTS 5.1; German DTS 5.1; Italian DTS 5.1;
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1; Hindi Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Arabic, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Hindi, Italian, Mandarin (Simplified), Norwegian, Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Turkish

Dynamics: I love the way the film sounds. There are only a couple fleeting eerily silent moments, while the rest are in-your-face loud. A lot of work was put into how “Poltergeist” sounds.

Low Frequency Extension: From the thuds, knocks and slamming to the sharp shrills of the score and screams, the LFE channel kept its presence known throughout as a force not to be reckoned with.

Surround Sound Presentation: The Blu-ray shines in the surround department where everything is meticulously balanced in the presentation from the eery atmospheric effects to the engulfing score that literally swells up around you.

Dialogue Reproduction: Everything is loud, clear, and intelligible.

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Alternate Ending (1:46)

Extended Cut: This version offers some additions and alterations at the beginning. The extended cut actually benefits the film by increasing tension in the beginning sequences.

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There’s no reason for you to pick this up. It adds nothing new to the story, it’s not scary, not amusing, and utterly boring. The actors do their best, but their drowned by a lifeless script and a director on auto-pilot. It might look and sound great, but that’s not reason enough to recommend it.

Poltergeist Blu-ray


I never stand in front of the elevator doors when they open. All because of the movie The Departed.

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