New details have come out about the Poltergeist remake. Only, at this point I think you can safely say it’s not a remake so much, considering that only the barest of story elements are being kept the same.
Here’s what we know so far – the story revolves around a family terrorized by ghosts, just like the original, but this time the family hasn’t been part of the neighborhood for several years. This time they are a down-on-their-luck family who move into a new house. Just as in the original, the young daughter is kidnapped by the ghosts and the family tries to get her back.
That’s where most of the similarities end. The family is not the Freelings, but instead is renamed the Bowens. The psychic investigators from the college (Dr. Lesh in the original) will be led by the ex-wife of the Mr. Bowen. They’re also adding a reality tv show host.
I think I understand why they made the story about a family moving into a new house that they discover is haunted…but honestly it breaks a lot of what was good about the original. By making it a new house, they don’t have to explain why the family could have lived in the house for years and have nothing happen – it’s true in the original there’s no singular trigger for the hauntings, though it could be the swimming pool excavation or the start of the development on the hill. It honestly didn’t matter, but the new filmmakers seem to need a reason, so now we get a generic “family moves into a haunted house” story. This could just as easily be an Amityville remake.
Making the investigators connected to the family also doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s unnecessary and likely will lead to some sort of conflict between the ex’es that just doesn’t make sense in the movie. It seems the filmmakers have lost the concept that Poltergeist is about family, not about the ghosts, not about reality tv, not about hauntings. It’s about family overcoming the impossible. It certainly isn’t about a man dealing with his ex-wife.
I have no illusions that this movie will flop. I just wish people would realize it before they screw up something good.