Monday, October 5, 2015

Horror Movie Review: Poltergeist

"No more."
Poltergeist (1982) is the most heartwarming horror movie I've ever seen. Steven Spielberg directed...'nough said. But honestly, the family dynamic in this movie was really quite believable. I cared about this family. It passed the Bechdel test almost immediately (these '80s horror movies are surprising me with how progressive they were!) and the women characters had definite personalities. The dad was a caring father. The little girl (above) didn't do a lot of unnecessary screaming, crying, or whining. In fact, the little boy did the majority of the screaming and whining. The mother smoked pot and had a youthful sense of humor, but wasn't painted as irresponsible or uncaring towards her children because of it. There was zero scolding of her for smoking pot by the dad or the movie itself either. In other words, she wasn't shown as a "bad" character because of this trait. This film almost set itself up as a sitcom. Lovable family that laughs together and loves each other. No nudity. Nothing pissed me off about this film.

There's this really great scene between the mom and a female psychologist/paranormal investigator wherein neither woman judges the other and they just have a philosophical bonding moment together wherein they obviously see one another as people doing their best in the world. This is the kind of moment you hardly EVER see between women in film. Kudos, Spielberg!

Minorities: there was one person of color and he was a side character, but he wasn't shown as inept or stupid and he didn't die, so half a point, I guess.

The only downside to Poltergeist is that the horror aspects of the film ramped up unexpectedly to 11 in the last half hour. As soon as you hear the little girl deadpan, "No more." I think the film should have gone to black. When I rewatch it, that will be my stopping point, I think. I liked that the horror was offscreen for most of the movie. Just when you think everything has been resolved, all the sudden they throw every possible horrific thing at the viewer and it's really overkill, for me anyway.

Overall, I recommend this movie. It's a philosophical horror movie with heart. I can dig that.

Aesthetics/Visual Effects: 3.5

Plot: 3.0

Characters: 4.0

Score: 2.5

Treatment of Women/Minorities: 4.0

Rewatchability: 3.5


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