Poltergeist Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 3, 2010
Poltergeist represents horror at it's top form in the early 80's. It's not the best horror movie out there, but it definitely deserves it's high praise. Relying on the cast and practical effects to drive this ridiculous story, "Poltergeist" becomes far more impressive than it should be. I loved Poltergeist almost to the point that it has become one of my favourite horror films, however, I am not too much of a fan of how off-the-rails it goes towards the end of the film. I liked leaving everything to my imagination. I jumped, felt the pain, and I was scared for the parents in this film. Every good element that a horror film should have is present here. With a great cast, a lovable and insane premise, everything about this film just feels right, as far as this genre goes. "Poltergeist" is one hell of a thrilling horror flick that I can watch anytime. Highly recommended to the horror junkies.
Super Reviewer
½ April 20, 2012
When researching Horror films, you will undoubtedly come across, "Poltergeist". You'll also notice that the film is often showered with adulation. I have no idea why. The attraction to this movie has always been lost on me. I didn't think it was scary when I was a kid, and after a recent viewing, I still can't establish a connection to the film. If anything, the recent screening caused me to dislike "Poltergeist" even more. The film's biggest weakness, is that all of the scares are derived through special effects. For me, this style always comes up lame. Although state-of-the-art at the time, 30 years certainly hasn't done the effects any favors. There isn't any tension or atmosphere to make the viewer uncomfortable, so once the special effects are rendered useless, all you're left with is annoying characters and poor acting. Speaking of the acting, it may unintentionally, be the most horrific part of the whole spectacle. What also makes "Poltergeist" suffer, is the fact that the film seems very impressed with itself. That's actually common in Spielberg movies, so it's not a surprise here. It also carries a constant hint of optimism, that ends up detracting from the horror. "Poltergeist" is corny nonsense. It might beat today's paranormal efforts, but that doesn't say much.
garyX
Super Reviewer
½ February 22, 2007
A suburban home is invaded by an evil presence which befriends the family's young daughter and draws her into its spirit realm. Although Tobe Hooper is credited as director of Poltergeist, producer Steven Spielberg's fingerprints are all over it. Hooper's pedigree within the cult horror fraternity as creator of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is combined with Spielberg's consummate skill as entertainer to create a hybrid that contains many of the horror standards including living trees, evil clowns, self mutilation and corpses aplenty but maintains its mainstream crowd-pleasing sensibilities. It shares a lot of ingredients with Close Encounters Of The Third Kind but this snap shot of likeable suburban America is disturbed by something far less benevolent. The special effects have actually dated surprisingly well considering and there are some great moments, particularly the disturbing kitchen scene and a great finale when coffins literally start erupting out of the ground. Kind of like Jaws for ghosts, Poltergeist is warm and funny plus creepy and chilling when it means to be and succeeds at everything it sets out to do. One of the classic family-orientated horror films.
Super Reviewer
½ January 18, 2012
The first time I saw this was when I was about 7 years old and it scared the everlasting crap out of me. How does it hold up now that my perspective on movies is more mature? It's still incredibly frightening. The film revolves around a normal family whose house is built on a Native American burial ground and the spirits are all pissed. The haunting begins with simple stuff like chairs moving and the pet bird dying, but it's all just build up to what will be the ultimate scares. One night the daughter claims to be able to hear people talking from the TV in the parents room and the parents become increasingly concerned. (Even though nowadays they would've just put her in a straight-jacket and dragged her off to an asylum.) The daughter eventually gets sucked into her closet by the spirits and she disappears. To make things more crazy, a tree outside the house comes to life and tries to eat the son. Now the rest of the movie is focused on trying to rescue the daughter. The thing I like most about the movie is the scares are genuine. There's no jump scares or predictable cliches, it's all about the possibility of the afterlife and the evil side it has. The atmosphere and mood of the movie is really well done too. The setting feels realistic enough and when the characters are in trouble, you actually feel the intensity, confusion and fright behind what is happening. One particular scene that is going to stay etched in my brain is the scene with clown. The son has a really creepy toy clown sitting at the end of his bed and all it does it stares. The kid puts a shirt over it, but I would've taken a more drastic decision. I'd take it, break into a house and plant it in a random kids room. That clown is his problem now, if I don't have to deal with it staring at me, then I'm fine if the other kid has sleepless nights. Well the clown comes to life and attacks the kid. It is still a really scary scene. To start, we've all had to deal with a scary looking toy we don't like at least once in our life. For me, it was a Chucky doll my dad bought to mess with me when I was 9. (Things didn't improve when he put it in my bed when I was sleeping and I had to wake up to it staring at me.) Another thing scary about the scene is the tension. We don't immediately see the clown come to life, we just see it has moved from where it usually sits. We know the clown is alive and somewhere in the room, and the suspense is just perfect. Another terrifying scene is when one guy is looking in the mirror and he starts to tear apart his face. It may have looked really good back then, but now it looks fake. Still, you have to appreciate the special effects guy for not relying on CGI for the scene. Most horror movies today overuse CGI and try to make it look scary, when really it just sucks. Puppetry and animatronics are the way to go. This will be remembered as one of the scariest movies of all time, it's also influential for pop culture and other horror movies. Poltergeist had a couple sequels, but I still like to remember it as a lone film because it's just that great.
Directors Cat
Super Reviewer
½ October 29, 2011
It's scary, tense and filled with memorable characters and lines. Poltergeist most intriguingly never fails to break it's eery feeling once the ghostly activity begins despite it's utter silliness.
Super Reviewer
August 9, 2011
This is like riding The Haunted Mansion at a Disney park when you are a kid - consistently creepy but also with a foot well set on the fantastical side of the macabre, which is enough for you to know that you will get safely to the end. As a "right of passage" film (for those who are old enough to watch it but not old enough for something to the likes of "The Exorcist"), it is one of the essential ones. As movie magic goes, it is one of those that haunts our childhood dreams. No matter that Tobe Hopper gets the directing credits, it has Spielberg's fingerprints all over it. And even then the disruption of the American family came out of the TV.
DreamExtractor
Super Reviewer
½ August 17, 2011
One of the scariest movies I have ever seen.
Super Reviewer
August 9, 2011
Modern horror classic. It could've used better visuals, but it's 1982.....who's complaining?
Super Reviewer
½ June 14, 2006
Tobe Hooper's horror classic is clearly produced by Spielberg. The happy but somewhat chaotic families, with the male kids having Star Wars toys all over their rooms, much like in many Spielberg films of the era, still give me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Here the haunting of their house starts slowly but gets wilder by the minute, culminating in a pretty fiery showdown. That's the only part of the film that still labels as scary, making the most of the genre within 15 minutes. But even before that, the lovable (minor) characters and good set up still keep the audience's interest after all these years. While the effects may not have aged all that well, the film still works as a relic from those good old times.
Super Reviewer
½ October 12, 2007
A well-conceived and delivered horror film from the mind of Steven Spielberg, detailing a family of five and their encounters with out-of-this-world forces and how they must rescue their youngest daughter who these forces have inexplicably taken from them. Although at times it is rather corny and not as scary as it thinks it really is, this movie is still undeniably thrilling while still possessing a sweet side to it few horror movies possess. Just when you think things have wrapped up nicely, Spielberg inserts a few nicely developed twists into the mix, and the result is something irrefutably satisfying. Not a great movie but any means, but definitely solid popcorn entertainment, with a more than capable cast leading the way.
TheDudeLebowski65
Super Reviewer
½ March 20, 2011
Poltergeist is one of the best horror films dealing with the supernatural. Produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Tobe Hooper, these two cook up a film that scary, chilling and memorable. When I first saw this film I was of course scared, and I don't scare easily. The clown scene was the WTF moment for me, and it stayed with me for some time, still has in a way. And I hate clowns. Go Figure. Poltergeist is probably one of the best films of the 80's, its certainly ranks up there as one of the scariest films of the 80's. Hooper and Spielberg craft a film that successfully builds tension and horror to create something truly terrifying. Thats the main reason that Poltergeist succeeds in being so terrifying, the scares steadily build up, and Hooper knows how to create the atmosphere necessary to make this a very chilling film. The film has terrific special effects and great acting. Poltergeist is a well paced horror film that definitely delivers great scares. As Tobe Hooper still had talent back then, he delivered a solid horror film, and combined with the production talents of Steven Spielberg, this is one spooky thrill that no horror fan should miss out on. Poltergeist is a fine classic .and is truly something to re watch or watch for the first time depending if you've seen the film or not. A one of a kind film of spooky proportions make this film a must see classic for all horror fans.
JonathanHutchings
Super Reviewer
February 17, 2011
There has been a lot of controversy over who actually directed this film. Tobe Hooper got the credit, but it's widely assumed that Spielberg was the de facto director. For me, it's quite obvious that Spielberg helmed the vast majority of Poltergeist because it has his fingerprints all over it -- the over-sentimentality, the cheesy moralizing, the swelling score, even his trademark shot compositions. Compare the direction of Texas Chainsaw Massacre to Poltergiest, and, for me, it becomes quite apparent that Hooper's nowhere to be found here.

And that's probably why I didn't like it. It's a little too safe, and a little too cutesy -- but I guess that's what happens when Spielberg makes a horror movie (and yes, I'm well aware he made Jaws, but that was before he was "Steven Spielberg.") Aside from Zelda Rubinstein's performance, and ILM's excellent 80s special effects, Poltergeist is a vastly overrated film that conjures up just enough scares to pass as a horror film, but takes no risks in the process. It's the kind of movie that non-horror fans champion as a "scary movie" -- a glorified campfire story with a big budget. It may be the first, and only film that I can think of off the top of my head, that could be considered a "Family Horror" film. Those words do not belong together.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
An incredibly creepy movie, very scary, and now a horror classic. I really liked it, and if you like horror movies, you'll like it too.
sanjurosamurai
Super Reviewer
January 11, 2007
a horror classic, the only real criticism of the film may be an overlong running time as the result of slight pacing issues. the film is a bit tame until the end, which is classic of a spielberg production, and the film felt more like his although it was directed by hooper. the film followed a slightly uninspired visual formula, but the dialogue was written quite well and the film qualifies as solid entertainment.
shauna1354
Super Reviewer
July 1, 2009
This is obviously dated to modern eyes but it still packs a powerful punch with spine-tingling moments of spooky genius. It's very much your average haunted house story yet it has such jaw-droppingly bizarre effects that it entertains throughout. You can immediately tell that Poltergeist is a film that has continued to influence the horror genre throughout the years as I recognised suspenseful elements seen in ghost stories filmed today. It is excellently acted, the music brilliantly creates an eerie atmosphere, and the special effects are cleverly executed for its time. Poltergeist is a true example of a classic horror experience.
Super Reviewer
April 4, 2010
I usually don't like old horror movies, but this one is both still scary, and wonderfully entertaining. There is a solid script, great actors, and still dizzying effects.
Super Reviewer
½ September 25, 2010
Was extremely disappointed with the lack of interest that it caught for me. Dreadfully boring. I know a lot of people will disagree with me.
Movie Monster
Super Reviewer
August 16, 2010
A cheesy yet pretty scary horror movie. Really scared the crap out of us even though we don't believe in ghosts. Frustrating ending though.

"DON'T GO INTO THE LIGHT!!!"
Super Reviewer
March 8, 2008
Poltergeist opens on a Sunday in your run of the mill suburb in California. It's one of those sub divisions where the houses all look alike and the neighborhood flows from one day into the next. We finally stop at the Freeling house with the typical '80's nuclear family: Steven (Craig T. Nelson) is the patriarch, driving the station wagon to and fro to bring home the bacon,his wife Diane (JoBeth Williams), trying to run a household with their three kids, teenage Dana (Dominique Dunne), Robbie (Oliver Robins), and Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke). This is suburbia at its finest.


But Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper aren't going to leave it that way. You see, weird things are going on. First Carol Anne talks with the television in the middle of the night. Should it be strange? Kids sleepwalk. Hell, I once hovered over my cousin in the dead of the night for no reason other than I didn't know I was doing it at the time. Next the chairs start to move by themselves, prompting more excitement than terror over this unique gift. It's a parlor trick, tried and true. The thing is that things deteriorate quickly to the point that an old tree outside tries to eat Robbie in a ruse for whatever spirit has infected this house to take Carol Anne to another dimension and use her has their guide into the "light". The remainder of the film revolves around bringing Carol Anne back to the cul de sac.


The question is does Poltergeist classify as a horror film. Or is it a thriller? Or is it social commentary? Maybe it's a hybrid of all those things. Maybe it isn't. The great thing about Poltergeist is that it uses a formula similar to Night of the Living Dead fifteen years before it. It takes the most typical and comfortable situation, this time being the families own home, and sends it plummeting into hell. The supermarket groceries and Star Wars toys are all set dressing as the family is dragged from suburban bliss to pure terror. Poltergeist achieves this desired effect. Your comfort zone is shattered. There is no safe place to go anymore. Hell has entered the front door and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.
FiLmCrAzY
Super Reviewer
½ November 5, 2007
A classic im not to sure, maybe for its time yes but watching it in the 21st century it was just boring that i couldnt finish it and just fell asleep with boredom!
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