Fans of the original Poltergeist film have been waiting with a mix of anticipation and dread to see the trailer for the new Poltergeist reboot coming this summer. Originally the new version of Poltergeist was supposed to debut around this time but it got moved to the summer and is currently slated for release in July 2015. All eyes were on the trailer to see if the film would be able to find the right balance between the original and the new.
A Risky Reboot
The reboot was a risky proposition from the start. Poltergeist is one of the most iconic horror films in history and is one of the genre defining films of 80s horror films. Poltergeist ushered in an entirely new type of horror film in the early 80s and became the film that defined 80s horror. To remake a film that had such a huge impact on horror could go very well or it could go very wrong and ruin the film’s chances of success.
If some of the legends about Poltergeist are true remaking the film could be risky in other ways too. There have been rumors for years that the original production was cursed. Whether or not the project was cursed is impossible to prove but it’s definitely true that a lot of unusual accidents and deaths occurred to the crew, cast, and people associated with the film. The actress who played Dana in the original film was murdered by her boyfriend. And little Heather O’Rourke, who played Carol Anne in the original film when she was just five years old died of medical problems at 12.
The New Story
The new Poltergeist reboot is about a new family who move into the neighborhood where the original film took place, although not in the same house. They start experiencing paranormal activity and the youngest daughter is kidnapped by the spirits in the house. The older sister in the reboot is played by Saxon Sharbino, who is the older sister of Brighton Sharbino who starred as Lizzie in The Walking Dead.
Fans were anxiously awaiting the release of the trailer to see if the film would be able to strike a balance between honoring the original film and creating a new story. Overall the reaction to the trail was overwhelmingly positive. Even fans who were looking for any possible excuse to dislike the reboot had to admit that the trailer looks fantastic. The reboot pays homage to the original by recreating several of the most famous scenes in the original while adding modern twists.
In one scene from the trailer the youngest daughter puts her hands on the TV screen to make contact with the spirits in the house. In the original film this scene defined the film and became the image that people associated with the film. In the reboot instead of one pair of hands reaching back to the little girl audiences see many hands appear in the murky blue of an LED lit screen. The effect is truly creepy.
Another icon from the original film, the clown doll that comes to life and attacks the son, also appears in the film. The doll is found hidden in a closet. Even though the doll has been given an updated look it’s still pretty scary. In the trailer the boy sees the clown’s string on the floor at his feet, and just seeing the boy realize the doll is behind him waiting to strike is cringe-inducing.
The final scene in the trailer is original to the reboot but it’s a good sign that the reboot will be able to recreate some of the classic moments in the original but still give audiences a scary film that could stand on its own too. In that scene the youngest daughter is telling her mother that something is wrong in the house when she is picked up by her foot by an invisible force and flies through the air to the top of the stairs and disappears. Based on that scene and the trailer as a whole it looks as if the director and producers of the Poltergeist reboot may have created an updated modern horror classic that still honors the original film.