Movie Review: The new Poltergeist can’t outrun its source material

The 2015 edition of Poltergeist would be a decent horror movie if it didn’t already exist. There’s the 1982 edition, for starters, a masterful collaboration between Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper that sends a suburban family through the haunted-house wringer. But the new Poltergeist also recalls James Wan’s Insidious and any number of other recent cinematic hauntings, with the usual little kids talking to unseen entities, electronics going haywire, creepy-looking toys, paranormal investigators acting slightly wacky, and cheap but effective jump scares.

That’s not to say that this remake represents pure, derivative hackwork. Director Gil Kenan, who effectively communed with a gentler form of ’80s ghosts for the Spielberg/Robert Zemeckis production Monster House, assembles graceful moving tableaux of the Bowen family, introducing dad Eric (Sam Rockwell), mom Amy (Rosemarie DeWitt), and kids Kendra (Saxon Sharbino), Griffin (Kyle Catlett), and Madison (Kennedi Clements) swiftly and effectively …

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