WORST REMAKES: #11 – POLTERGEIST
It all comes down to the fucking clown. In the original Poltergeist, the clown doll was a normal childhood toy (most likely Carol Anne’s) that happened to be a source of anxiety for the young boy (Robbie). The ghosts use the kid’s fears against him and manipulate the doll to attack him. It goes from being just everyday creepy to disturbingly grotesque — and I was never sure if it was actually becoming demonic, or if it’s Robbie’s perception of it at that moment. It’s a great visual, and set a high bar for kids in danger as well as the use of clowns in horror movies.
In the remake, the clown doll is discovered in the house’s walls, in a box filled with other clown dolls. All them look like they were built in the same factory Annabelle from The Conjuring came from. Why these things are hidden behind the gyprock is never answered. No one cares to bring up they were modeled after demonic-pedophiles. There’s no reason to keep these fucked up things around, and we the audience aren’t surprised at all when they attack because, of course, THERE IS NOTHING NORMAL ABOUT THEM.
The clowns represent everything that’s wrong with Poltergeist 2015. It has no real purpose, or thought behind it, or strategy to say something new or innovating. It exists solely to prey on nostalgia. It’s only strategy to scare you is by regurgitating imagery and emotions that have no context other than your own memories. Metaphorically speaking, it’s paying a hooker to dress and act like your first true love: no matter how good her cosplay can get, it’s a hollow and desperate act, and ultimately depressing for everyone involved.