First Look: 'Poltergeist' Remake Reprises Famous Shots, Leaves Out Tangina

Wednesday, 04 February 2015 09:51 Written by  iamrogue
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First Look: 'Poltergeist' Remake Reprises Famous Shots, Leaves Out Tangina

Okay, the Poltergeist remake is real. 

We've denied it to ourselves all we could, but with a batch of six first look images landing online today, there's no two ways about it: the remake is inbound.

The 1982 original directed by Tobe Hooper and produced by Steven Spielberg lives in infamy for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that's actually emotional and scary as all hell.  It's a tremendously effective piece of entertainment, a haunted house story that holds up exceptionally well almost 35 years later.

Stepping into Hooper's shoes is Gil Kenan, who helmed City of Ember and the underappreciated Monster House.  "Whenever someone approaches material that's so beloved, there's a reflexive reaction to be worried," Kenan admitted to USA Today, where the pictures debuted. "It's a responsibility we take very seriously. We're working to make a Poltergeist film that lives up to the original's legacy."

This new Poltergeist replaces Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams as the Freelings with Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt as the Bowens.  8-year-old Kennedi Clements takes over as Madison, their daughter yanked into another dimension by malevolent spirits.  Saxon Sharbino and Kyle Catlett also appear as the other Bowen kids.  Zelda Rubenstein walked away with the original as Tangina, a role that's had its gender swapped, with Jared Harris playing a variation on the character.

"Unlike the traditional horror film, I wanted to put together a cast to give weight and reality to these characters. It's the way to anchor the family," Kenan said. "It's such an emotional story at the core. Parents fighting to get their child back from the beyond."

Beyond the recognizable title and some iconic visuals, it's a bit difficult to figure out why a Poltergeist remake is necessary. 

Producer Sam Raimi, the man behind his fair share of spookablast classics, offered up an actual thematic reason, though, saying, "The original film commented on how we've let television get out of control, babysitting our kids," says Raimi. "It's only gotten worse with the handheld portable devices. Screens are everywhere."

Technically, this a reboot, since there were two subpar sequels, but these images make it clear that this is an out-and-out remake.  A trailer arrives tomorrow, so we'll get a sense of any surprises Kenan and company might have in store.

"The film is super-scary," the director said. "And it's scary on its own terms. I am excited to finally be able to share that with the world."

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