Remakes of classic horror films are nothing new, but there's something that seems to fuel extra skepticism when it comes to the remake of Poltergeist coming this May from director Gil Kenan and producer Sam Raimi. The film has an intriguing horror pedigree and a good cast, and the first trailer brought plenty of creepy fun, but there's just something in my brain that keeps making me want to pull back. The original Poltergeist, in my mind, is a singular, perfect little movie experience, exactly the right kind of horror film I needed when I was 10, and something that can't be replaced. Every time I see footage from the remake, though, I'm somehow drawn back into curiosity, and the new trailer is no different.
The first trailer for the film kicked off with a very typical haunted house movie trailer setup: beautiful sunset, loving family, new home, fresh start, happy kids and so on. Then the terror kicked in. This time out, the trailer wastes absolutely no time in diving into the spooky stuff. First we get a shot that foreshadows the evil tree that will come to haunt the Bowen family as the film goes on, as the shadows of its branches sway over the bed of Griffin Bowen (Kyle Catlett). Then, of course, there's the most powerful symbol of the Poltergeist franchise, a flickering television, and we're off. The trailer re-uses much of the first trailer's voiceover courtesy of medium Carrigan Burke (Jared Harris) but adds in a few new special effects (this poltergeist, like the original, is good at stacking stuff) and, of course, revisits that terrifying little clown.
The major difference this time around, for me, was the added focus on Burke. I still find it very intriguing that the remake takes a character played by the likes of Zelda Rubinstein in the original and goes in a very different casting direction, but perhaps that will help this version find a sense of its own identity even amid all the little callbacks. Plus, Harris is a very gifted actor, and he's the most compelling part of these trailers for me, so I'm looking forward to seeing the full performance.
Check out the trailer below:
Poltergeist also stars Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Saxon Sharbino and Kennedi Clements. It hits theaters May 22.