Overall Grade: (D-)
Another remake that failed to match the level of the original resulting in a film that was decent enough to only mildly entertain.
The 1982 original was fresh, frightening and delivered many classic cinematic moments that have still held relevance today. It was no surprise a remake/reboot would be coming and when I heard Sam Rockwell was in the lead I had high hopes. Hopes that were not close to being met with a film that was surprisingly gimmicky and nothing but a cheesy horror romp using a theme already framed out for them.
Don’t get me wrong, this was not a horrible film but it was far from a good one, and nothing compared to the first, in performances, suspense or overall fright value, and I can honestly say it is not the nostalgia manipulating my opinion. There were some good moments in the third-act of the film that took the concept of the original and laid it out in great visual fashion (i.e. the tapped souls). These few moments also played out nice in 3D, although other than these couple of scenes there was really no use for the addition other then to bolster sales revenue.
There were several scenes that made me wonder whether the direction of the film was to be a comedy or the true horror most everyone was expecting. Sure, like the original there were some comically subtle lines between the family members early on, but in this film it seemed the writers became too focused on cute dialogue. After the initial couple lines deliver a chuckle to two the repetition begins to continue much too deep into the film at the cost of the suspense that is normally expected from a horror film.
The repetitive comedic attempts lighten the mood and when the intended frights do actually occur they do not deliver the fully intended shock value. There were also some glaring holes in the plot that should not have been there being the filmmakers were already working with a fully structured story of the original.
For example Sam Rockwell’s character is in a bank in one scene, none of his credit cards are working until one finally goes through. After he gets back to his car he looks back in the rear-view at the parking lot behind him then the scene changes to him coming home with expensive gifts for everyone. Either I missed something or this was a simple story-line convenience added to neatly place a remote controlled drone in the film to later use to boast some mildly decent attempts at special-effects.
Overall this was not a good remake, or a very good film period. The writing was too lighthearted, there was no tension built and none of the characters roused any connection. Somewhere along the way the filmmakers lost focus on what this movie should have been, a strong retelling of a classic story, not a cheesy horror romp using all the good qualities of the original as gimmicks to put butts in seats, not to mention adding a sub-par attempt at 3D. There was no substance to this film and it felt like all the other campy horror movies out there with a script you will find hard to remember details of soon after watching.
There is one good thing that comes from the flood of remakes, no matter how bad they may be, they still remind you of the originals and make you think about popping them back in for another great viewing. After watching this one I can tell you the 1982 original is still the best and now part-three is no longer the worst entry, because this film should have been called “Poltergimmick”.