If you haven’t heard about the Five Nights at Freddy’s series, have a chat with the video game aficionado in your life and they’ll tell you all about it. A smash hit on both computers and mobile devices, these games cast the gamer as a security guard in a Chuck E. Cheese-style family restaurant...where the animatronic animals come to life at night...and try to kill you. Now, the film adaptation of the series has found a director in Gil Kenan, best known for Monster House and this year’s remake of Poltergeist.
Everything that goes wrong in Poltergeist stems from an act of desecration; the building of a cookie-cutter housing development on top of an old cemetery. Some might find the sheer act of attempting a remake of Poltergeist similarly disrespectful; the 1982 original is something of a masterpiece of suburban terror. But if viewers can look past the sheer audacity of attempting another Poltergeist, they’ll find a solid modernization, the cinematic equivalent of a decent cover version of a great rock song. It’s totally superfluous, and not nearly as satisfying as the original, but well-performed and effective in its own way. It’s nice (or, in this case, deeply unsettling) to revisit an old classic in a new arrangement.
The original 1984 ‘Poltergeist’ is one of the best horror films ever made. With its PG rating, it’s also one of the great Trojan Horses of genre cinema. Parents show it to their kids, thinking it will be a a little scary but totally family-friendly experience, only to realize too late (usually around the point where the guy hallucinates his face being torn off) that the movie means business. So, when we dive into the first look at the upcoming ‘Poltergeist’ remake, we do so with the skepticism of people who think the original masterpiece holds up as well today as it did over 30 years ago.