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Wednesday, January 12, 2011



You can watch the trailer here

Now that I've gone through most of the major awards films for the upcoming 2010 awards season, I can set my focus back onto other movies that I've always wanted to watch. Poltergeist definitely fell into that category. I had seen snippets here and there over the years, but I had never had the opportunity to sit down and watch it in its entirety.

The film, which was directed by Tobe Hooper, tells the story of the Freeling family, headed by father Steve (Craig T. Nelson) and mother Dianne (JoBeth Williams). The couple live in an up-and-coming community with their three children: Dana (Dominique Dunne), Robbie (Oliver Robins) and Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke). When the family starts to notice that Carol Anne has begun to communicate with static-filled television screens, they also begin to notice a slew of paranormal activity affecting the house. At first, it seems like harmless fun, but one night during a storm, a large tree pulls Robbie from his bed, causing the family to leave Carol Anne in her room alone while they try to get him down. Carol Anne is then pulled by a force into the bedroom closet and cannot be found. Steve and Dianne enlist the help of para-psychologist Dr. Lesh (Beatrice Straight)who, after surveying the house and the continued happenings, calls a woman named Tangina (Zelda Rubinstein) to conduct a seance in order to bring Carol Anne back to the conscious realm of the living.

The story is actually quite well-written considering it falls under the horror genre. Nowadays, we're lucky to find a horror flick that does more than make us jump out of our seat every couple of minutes. Poltergeist actually has a little bit of intelligence, but that's not to say that it doesn't fall into some of the standard tricks that so many of us are used to by now. Still, the story does enough to captivate you and draw you into the film, making you wonder how it's all going to turn out. That being said, the ending is somewhat predictable, but that doesn't necessarily make it any less enjoyable.

The acting is also very good considering we're delving into horror. Nelson and Williams bring a pretty realistic look at parents struggling with the loss of a child to strange and unnatural circumstances. In fact, most of the adult characters play their parts quite well. However, I don't think enough can be said about little Miss Heather O'Rourke, who has gone down in history as the "Poltergeist girl" because of her role. She's not on-screen for much of the film, but the times you see her, she's utterly captivating. There's something about her childish innocence that fits perfectly with the character and the story. It's so tragic that she was taken from this life at such a young age (she passed away six years after this film was released).

It's also worth mentioning that Poltergeist was an Oscar-nominee three times over, garnering nods for sound editing, visual effects and original score. For 1982, I'd say the effects were exceptional, especially considering the heavy, effects-laden film of that year was everybody's favorite TRON (which ironically wasn't nominated in the visual effects category). If you needed any other prodding to watch Poltergeist, it's definitely for the effects and the music which fits perfectly.

Movie Review Summary:
Grade: B
2 Thumbs Up

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