Variety Review: ‘Poltergeist’ Remake “Entertaining Yet Fundamentally Unnecessary”

“The cast largely acquit themselves well, even when deprived of much opportunity to really develop their characters… Rockwell plays the slightly boozy, goofy father figure with great charm and likability, and Catlett makes for a believably wise, harried tyke of the Haley Joel Osment mold. DeWitt is unfortunately rather ill served by the film’s most significant divergence from the original, which robs the character of her great moment of maternal heroism. Harris, taking over for Zelda Rubinstein, has fun channeling another vintage Spielberg production, “Jaws,” as a rough, scarred, Quint-essential spook-hunter. Visually speaking, Javier Aguirresarobe’s photography is solid — and while generally unnecessary, the 3D work sometimes adds an extra layer of claustrophobia to the creeping interior shots — yet the film’s attempts to illustrate the spirit world bring to mind Nine Inch Nails videos more readily than any otherworldly chthonian purgatory. Composer Marc Streitenfeld turns in a largely effective score, though it can’t help but pale in comparison to Jerry Goldsmith’s Oscar-nominated original. ..Even when one is inclined to admire the cleverness with which the remake revisits and reincorporates “Poltergeist’s” themes, it’s hard to pinpoint a single moment where it improves on them, and the aura of inessentiality hangs thick over the proceedings. Some franchises die, but they don’t know they’re gone. And then some franchises just get lost on their way to the reboot.”

-From the Variety review by Andrew Barker

This isn’t a huge shock, but we are kind of disappointed… we really needed a good scream or two in the movie theater (It Follows literally only played here in town one weekend, at a venue that is now a huge pain in the ass to get anywhere near thanks to traffic revisions), but this doesn’t look like it will fit the bill. Despite the fact this review compares the movie to a guided tour through a county-fair-style haunted house and states it has some quality jump scares, nothing in this review–and the others we’ve read–makes us feel like seeing it in the theater rather than waiting for VOD/Blu-ray. OK, if someone sent a car and driver to pick us up, and the movie was free, we’d go. However, reviews for Poltergeist 2015 tend to start waxing sentimental about the original, and saying though the movie tries to recapture the magic and mood Tobe Hooper was able to craft perfectly in 1982, the bottom line is that this reboot was unnecessary horror remake for a beloved, fan-favorite movie that did just fine (well, much better than fine) the first time around.

veryoldhand_bustingout_thruwall_stock.jpg

This is what happens when you move the headstones but you don’t move the bodies!

 

Oh, and from what I’ve heard, there isn’t even really a tip of the hat to the scene in the original where a member of the first group of paranormalists studying the ghostly activity hallucinated clawing his own face off (which they could never, ever get away with putting in a PG-rated movie these days; in fact, it was borderline R-rated). I am not saying they had to duplicate it, but give us something other than the clown doll, the tree, and “They’re here/This house is clean,” for Chrissake! Check out this piece we wrote when the first trailers of the movie went online for more, including the actual gory scene (we recalled adults in the audience yelling “HOAH!” in horrified surprise even louder than the kids our age).

If you’ve seen the original and the remake, and you feel like this review was too hard on the movie, please tell us about it. We would love to be proved wrong about the face-ripping scene, too!

Read on by clicking “View original” in the lower left…

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See The Poltergeist (2015) Trailer Here – Can It Do The Original Movie Justice? (HD)

We didn’t watch this trailer when it first was released several days ago– that’s how bad the backlash we read about it was. The people who saw it were angry in general, but they also agreed it was just, well, a shitty trailer that didn’t bode well for the quality of the upcoming movie. We finally broke down to see just how bad it was, and now wonder if they saw a different version of the trailer. While we’re not jumping up and down the way we were with, say, the red band trailer of the Evil Dead 2013 reboot, it could be worse. Take a look at the first full trailer below in HD.

Let’s see. On the one hand, all the cool stuff could be in the trailer, including the jump scares. We see several iconic moments and elements from the original 1982 movie from Tobe Hooper (more on that in a second), but some that we REALLY want to see are left out, such as the guy who starts seeing things and ends up having a really bad experience in the bathroom mirror (see below) . They’d better not leave this out if they know what’s good for the remake.

We also rolled our eyes at the iPhone getting static on it. One of the good things about the Evil Dead reboot was they kept the time period kind of vague; no-one fiddled with their iPhone, no-one Googled anything, and the clothes were kind of bland. We would hope they don’t try too hard to “update” the remake for “the new generation” of “millennials”, especially since they have a reputation of being lazy, self-entitled “assholes”* and we don’t care to see things dumbed down. There’s a couple of classic lines that would have been cool to hear (‘they’re here’ not being one of them) but our personal favorites are also kind of spoilers.

Another familiar moment...

Another familiar moment…

Positives: The clown doll that scared the shit out of us and all the other kids (we were both maybe 11 or 12 years old when we saw it in the theater) the first time is back.** Lots of other elements from the original are tossed out for us kids of the 80s; we probably don’t have to point them out. The cast is solid. There are a couple of scares in the trailer that are new, and creeped us out (what would YOU do if you casually opened your closet door and saw about 15 pairs of ghostly, demonic eyes staring at you from the pitch dark?). They seem to be keeping the origin story–which was a pretty great one–and going with the basic plotline. The cast is solid (Sam Rockwell, Jared Harris) and the kid actors seem okay so far. The idea that you need to clear your mind because some evil entity that could easily kill you and/or a family member already knows what scares you and doesn’t need any more ammo is some serious nightmare material.

At this point we’re not getting out hopes up, but there is a possibility that this remake could be a fun ride. We know nothing they create will give us the haunted house roller coaster thrill-ride that we had seeing it in the theater for the first (and second) time as kids. However, it still could be fun, and the first movie proved a movie doesn’t need to be rated R to make you scream like a little girl, keep you firmly on the edge of your seat, and love it deep down.

Poltergeist is set for release on July 24th, 2015. Expect to read much more about it here before then!Screen shot 2015-02-07 at 7.09.14 AM

*By the way, if you’re in that generation, we don’t hate all millennials and know some that are really cool. We just can’t stand the ones that give the entire generation a bad name.

**I doubt the ‘other half’ of Horror Boom will admit to actually being so scared that he scooted down in his seat in fear and covered his eyes in several parts (maybe he didn’t, I didn’t know him then), but I will. Knowing when several big jumps were coming–and sensing some others–seemed to actually make it more terrifying, for some reason.

 

‘Patrick: Evil Awakens’ Gets Excellent Review From Variety.com – We’ll Be There!

March 18th on VOD? After reading this, we wish we could watch it TONIGHT. Mark Hartley’s “Not Quite Hollywood,” which I can’t recommend enough to any film fan, especially if you’re into old-school, low-budget exploitation films (unless you’re easily offended) reminded us about the original Patrick (1978) and showed the gore that was cut from most releases (unless I’m really missing something; the version that I saw when I was maybe 12 seemed pretty tame, and it’s not like I was some jaded 12-year old, even though I was into horror that early).  With buzz like this, we’d see “Patrick: Evil Awakens”  even if Mark Hartley wasn’t directing, but puts it on our VOD list of movies we start searching the menu for at 12:01 AM Monday (OK, technically Tuesday, but you get the idea) and get an adrenaline burst when we see it fresh on the menu for the first time.  Check out the attached Variety review by click on ‘View original’ down in the lower left).

Film Review: ‘Oldboy’

Given his ability to look by turns pathetically broken and totally badass (plus he can rock a buzz cut and what looks like a 10-year beard), Brolin is as ideal an actor as any to steer viewers through “Oldboy’s” grisly funhouse of horrors. Yet while he’s up to the role’s intense physical and emotional demands, the star seems to hint at demons seething beneath the surface without fully embracing them, never tapping into the raw, animal-like ferocity that made Choi Min-sik such a frighteningly human monster. In similar fashion, Lee and Protosevich have made a picture that, although several shades edgier than the average Hollywood thriller, feels content to shadow its predecessor’s every move while falling short of its unhinged, balls-out delirium.

-From Justin Chang’s Variety review of Spike Lee‘s Oldboy remake – hit the ‘Read More’ link to check out the entire thing. Almost all the reviews we’ve read are similar. Think we’ll wait… and in the meantime, watch the Park Chan-Wook original again.

 

You’re All Gonna Laugh at The Editing Room’s Parody of The “Carrie” (2013) Remake!

From the hilarious Abridged Script by by Chris W.:

CHLOË is dressed in FARM CLOTHES and taken to the PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE.

PRINCIPAL
Chloë, we must call your mother and tell her about your Aunt Flo.

CHLOË GRACE MORETZ
NO!!!!!
(uses telekinesis to break shit)

PRINCIPAL
Let’s all ignore the fact shit just broke all by itself.

CHLOË goes home and some TWERP ON A BIKE harasses her, so she uses TELEKINESIS to knock him off.

TWERP ON A BIKE
Let’s all pretend that didn’t just happen, and that anyone who saw the original Carrie isn’t having a severe fucking case of déjà vu.

Wow, this makes us both REALLY happy that we decided to wait for the DVD (A decision based on our gut feelings and Ryan from Rhino Horror.com’s probably spot-on review –-he knows what he’s talking about and seems to have pretty close to the same taste in horror that we do).

The parody is hilarious, the excerpt above doesn’t do it justice. So click below to read…

Carrie (2013): The Abridged Script | The Editing Room.

Film Review: ‘I Spit on Your Grave 2’

Well, this is… unfortunate. The 2010 remake was brutal and amazing (though we had to fast-forward through most of the first half, watching it in the 1978 original was ugly enough) but we even ended up horribly shocked… and impressed. We’ll pass on I Spit On Your Grave 2; other reviews, even by other horror fans–and fans of the 2010 remake, like Dennis Harvey, hated it.

 

Red Band Trailer For Spike Lee’s Oldboy Remake Is Here – How Original.

(I got so worked up in my first edit that I realized I forgot to include the actual trailer; so here it is, wheeeeee):

Call this a red band trailer? We’re not that impressed. It looks as though (other than the actors)  Spike Lee‘s only change was having it be 20 years, not fifteen. We’re supposed to buy he’s, what, 25 years old in that first clip? Also, that no blood would come out when… OK, deep breath… see how many shots in this gallery from the remake trailer look a little familiar (and still watered-down).

 

 

Surprised the honeycomb-style wallpaper didn’t get ripped off, too. Oh wait, that’s right– it’s not a rip-off if they call it an homage, I forgot. Hey, you know what? Let’s see Josh Brolin look at cool as Choi Min-sik did while wearing those goofy sunglasses he finds. Chan-Wook Park said on the commentary for the REAL, SOUTH KOREAN Oldboy  (I was lucky enough to get the Vengeance Trilogy Boxed Set as a gift from my thoughtful husband) that they tried to find the most girly, stupid-looking sunglasses for him to wear, but that the actor still looked bad-ass no matter what. Plus, good luck looking that cool holding a hammer.  Hey Brolin, let’s see you lose 20 lbs. training over six weeks and do almost all your own stunt work. Let’s see you do your first fight scene where you beat the shit out of several thugs without the cigarette coming out of your mouth once. Let’s see if you have the dedication as an actor to eat four entire live baby octopi for a movie and your director while keeping your game face on and not gagging or throwing up. OK, WAIT! HOLD UP! Please in fact don’t try it, no-one should ever do that and the one (big) problem I have with the original is that they couldn’t find away to do that ‘bit’ without actually eating the poor things. Even if they were already on the chopping block for dinner, that was unnecessary and I still have to avert my eyes every time I watch that scene.

 

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Anyone here with an AB blood type, raise your hand.

 

OK,  I’m not even sure who I was yelling at there;  probably Lee, or the whole goddamned Hollywood system for cashing in to make a shitty American remake of an amazing foreign movie instead of just re-releasing it.  Not really mad at Brolin, he’s just doing his job… it’s just that Min-sik is an impossible act to follow. And so is Chan-Wook Park.

OK, here’s the corridor fight scene for Oldboy (2003) to cheer you up. Yup, it really was only one take – it took seventeen takes over three days to get the right one.

*Trivia fact: Min-sik is a Shinto Buddhist and said a prayer for each and every one of the octopi.  He didn’t refuse to do the scene, but he felt really sorry for the creatures.

Note: I was going to look up what actor Spike Lee cast as the Woo-jin Lee character, but then I just suddenly got really depressed and tired just thinking about going to the IMDB page for the remake. Even the fact than Samuel L. Jackson is in the movie doesn’t perk me up any (no matter how many times he says “motherfucker”), and I love Jackson in almost everything he does.

The Editing Room Roasts “Funny Games” (The American Re-make)

BRADY CORBET

So Michael, what’s the point of running through all the major beats of a bog-standard thriller, while also trying to make it abundantly clear that this isn’t supposed to be one?

MICHAEL PITT

In order for us to challenge people’s expectations, silly! Let’s see, what’s next on the list of clichés…

Suddenly DEVON escapes! Despite having a brief chance to act with a modicum of intelligence, and actually subvert thriller movie convention as opposed to indulging in pretentious twaddle, he instead elects to try and HIDE in the nearest EMPTY HOUSE.

Wow, they (well, this was written by Owain B. for The Editing Room) REALLY let this ill-advised (and ill-made) remake have it. WHY did Michael Haneke feel the need to remake Funny Games? Click the big red link below to check it out for a good laugh! Oh, and if you want to read our review of the original Funny Games, you can find it here.

 

Funny Games: The Abridged Script | The Editing Room.