Well, at least we can’t waggle the finger at Gil Kenan for not ‘trying’ with his “Poltergeist” remake – seems, for better or worse, he’s mostly trying to do something different with his update of the 1982 classic.
The “Monster House” director seems to have gone for the ‘completely new story and characters, but same title’ approach – a’la “Evil Dead” (and it worked out OK), as story specs obtained by Bloody Disgusting suggest.
The movie, which begins filming in Toronto this September, fixes on a new family who come face-to-clown with some evil spites… (this leave open the possibility of a Craig T.Nelson cameo, then!?)
Here’s what Bloody Disgusting have :
The new version follows Eric Bowen and his family who, after he loses his job, relocate to a new town to start anew. His daughter, Madison, is abducted, making him truly understand what’s important in life: family. In the new version, Eric’s wife, Amy, can communicate with the dead.
Another interesting new character is Carrigan Burke, a television personality who hosts “Haunted House Cleaners.” The supernatural doesn’t scare this guy. Dr. Brooke Powell is Carrigan’s ex-wife who is a parapsychologist at a local university. Her team investigates the supernatural events surrounding the disappearance of the Bowen girl.
We have a little more…
Our own Clint, who was involved in an earlier incarnation of this fourth “Poltergeist” film, gave me some extra details on the film.
Firstly, the Kenan-directed Raimi-produced reboot – much like the “Evil Dead” remake – exists in the same world as the previous “Poltergeist” films. So while it is a ‘reboot’ of the franchise, it’s also somewhat of a sequel – taking place years after the Freeling’s were ran out of town.
In one scene in the new film, the kids’ find some things behind the sliding panel in the attic. Yep, you guessed it – they find some of the Freeling’s possessions, intentionally left behind. There’s the Star Wars bed sheets (from Robbie’s room), a black-and-white TV set (why, of course!), and some Christmas decorations.
Although the new film may possess new characters and somewhat of a different storyline, all the “familiar beats” from the original “Poltergeist” films are in it. There’s the scary tree that proves a looming threat to our youngster (and gets pulled underground), the freaky ‘clown’ that sits upon a rocking chair in the bedroom (in this case, the clown sits in younger brother Griffin’s room), and of course there’s ‘phone’ trouble (in this case, older sister Kendra’s iPhone gets damaged by unseen forces), and of course the little girl – Madison – who makes friends with ‘The Lost People’ that nobody can see (but who don’t mind ‘showing off’ – making Madison’s hair stand up like she’s just been struck by electricity, being just one of their ‘tricks’).
I think this is a great way to go – you’re not cheesing off the fans of the previous films by pretending they didn’t happen but you’re also bringing in a new audience by starting afresh with new characters. But more so, there’s an opportunity later – say in a sequel – for us to possibly reunite with some of the characters from the original trilogy, like Craig T.Nelson and JoBeth Williams’ characters (or maybe they’re planning for the duo to cameo in this one?!).
I think we have to give producer Sam Raimi credit for both the “Evil Dead” and, by the sounds, the “Poltergeist” remake – he’s likely the one who insisted they both be part sequels- part reboots. I like!