The Films of Gil Kenan
City of Ember
A needless yet entertaining remake, Poltergeist follows the Bowen family (Sam Rockwell's Eric, Rosemarie DeWitt's Amy, Saxon Sharbino's Kendra, Kyle Catlett's Griffin, and Kennedi Clements' Madison) as they move into a suburban home and quickly discover that the house is already occupied by malevolent spirits. It's perhaps not surprising to discover that few elements within Poltergeist manage to wholeheartedly surprise the viewer, as scripter David Lindsay-Abaire hews closely to the storyline contained within Tobe Hooper's slightly superior 1982 film - with this stylish update hitting many of the original's major beats and plot twists. Filmmaker Gil Kenan far-from-subtle sensibilities ensure that the picture, for the most part, resembles a ride through an amusement-park haunted house, as the director has loaded the proceedings with over-the-top instances of special effects and a prevalent assortment of telegraphed jump scares. There's little doubt, then, that Poltergeist benefits substantially from the efforts of its exceedingly able cast, with, especially, Rockwell's engrossing turn as the family's patriarch playing a pivotal role in confirming the movie's mild success. It's finally impossible to label Poltergeist as anything more than a disposable yet watchable contemporary reboot, which, given the subpar nature of most modern updates, ensures that the film actually comes off more positively than the majority of its similarly-themed brethren.