‘Poltergeist’ Remake is an Adventure Movie About Child Abduction… You Know, For Kids
One of the more curious horror releases arriving this year is the remake of ‘Poltergeist,’ starring Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Jared Harris. Remake or no, that is one enticing cast of talented people. The remake is based on the 1982 horror classic directed by Tobe Hooper and produced by Steven Spielberg, and up until now, we haven’t known a whole lot about it—aside from the fact that it will be presented in 3D (insert eye roll). A new interview with Rockwell provides some new details about the project, and doesn’t make it sound all that scary.
Depending on who you talk to, Spielberg actually did most of the directing work on the original ‘Poltergeist,’ which was initially given an R-rating by the MPAA before Spielberg was able to talk them down to PG. Such is the power of Spielberg. And although the original film was rated PG and had some kids’ appeal, it was still pretty terrifying. (That flesh-rotting mirror scene still haunts me.)
In an interview with Collider, Sam Rockwell opened up about the upcoming remake, which he describes as “more of a kids’ movie”:
The 10-year-old boy is really the protagonist this time. JoBeth Williams was the protagonist for the most part in the first one and now the kid, it’s really through his point-of-view. So it’s more of a kids’ movie so I don’t know if it’s gonna be like rated-R scary.
A ‘Poltergeist’ remake for kids? It would hardly be surprising if they were aiming for a PG-13 rating to honor the spirit of the original film, and a PG-13 film still has the capacity to be horrifying, though the MPAA ratings system and its designations are a little different now. Rockwell goes on to explain that the remake apparently won’t be that scary:
It’s not like Conjuring type of scary. You know, it’s a different kind of movie. It’s more of an adventure. It’s essentially a child abduction film when you come down to it. I mean, the original Poltergeist is too.
So basically what we have here, according to Sam Rockwell, is an adventure movie about child abduction for kids. OK. It’s a little disappointing that Rockwell is talking down the horror-factor—he makes it almost sound like one of those Ashley Judd thrillers from the ‘90s where she’s just trying to get her son back, but instead of telling the story from her POV, we get to experience it from the perspective of her abducted son.
At the same time, Rockwell also makes the ‘Poltergeist’ remake sound like a throwback to the harrowing kids’ adventure movies of the ‘80s, like ‘Explorers’ and ‘E.T.’ If this ‘Poltergeist’ remake is a throwback to the kind of stuff we used to get from Amblin, I’m down with it.
So far, all we really know about ‘Poltergeist’ is that it’s in 3D, and Jared Harris plays a professor (it’s his natural state) who leaves his profession behind to host a show called ‘Haunted House Cleaners.’ That sounds awesomely wacky.
‘Poltergeist’ hits theaters on July 24.