Though its expansion of ghost stories beyond the walls of old decaying mansions to normalized towns was an important evolutionary step forward in the horror genre, Poltergeist is emphatically-unscary, miscast, glacially-paced, and messily-VFX’d – as domesticated and kvetchingly-somnambulent as its suburbia background. 4.2/10.
An average family in a California suburb, the Freelings – Steve (Craig T. Nelson), Diane (JoBeth Williams), teenage Dana (Dominique Dunne), 8-year-old Robbie (Oliver Robins), and 5-year-old Carol (Heather O’Rourke) – start noticing strange things happening intheir house. Initially playful and friendly, the spirits causing them turn unexpectedly hostile.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
Pros: Sure-handed direction a smart script from Spielberg, interesting beginning as the spirits in the house are friendly, horrific middle act as the spirits turn hostile and abduct Carol Ann into the TV – an extremely unique and imaginative idea exploiting cinemaphiles’ fascination with the screen in a scary way, some terrifying scenes like the face-melting scene and tree abduction, supernatural intrigue and legacy in the horror genre inspiring countless ghost house/haunting movies like it in the genre, great acting and soundtrack, PHENOMENAL ending with the clown doll and pool scene – if only the rest of the movie was this scary -.-, test of time to still get some scares in 30+ years later
Cons: Corny opening scene, lighting during TV communications too strobey, special effects borderline laughable even considering the time, too many parts of the movie not scary (really not at all, honestly by today’s Horror standards) and too Spielberg-y (succeeds as a storytelling film and classical film criteria but underwhelming as horror)
Full Review Coming Soon