Before we get into the review I want to wish all the loyal readers a Happy Holidays and a special shout out to blog writers Vincent Daemon, Jules Brudek and William O'Donnell whose constant support makes this blog possible with their unique cinematic points of view. And a big announcement coming soon. With that enjoy the review!
Director: Gil Keenan
Review by: Vincent Daemon
By all rights, I knew what I was getting myself into. And I knew it wasn’t going to be any good. But this bad? In fact, bad isn’t even the right word. Atrocious. Yes, that fits perfectly. However, it was one of those dullard post-Holiday nights where there is nothing but fucking sports on the tube, nothing to do, and no money to go get a lil altered. Nope, stuck in the house, couldn’t decide what to watch, then curiosity finally struck the cat. And the after effects left me indeed feeling like a special part of my childhood had been ripped out of me and set aflame before my very eyes, killing that same curious cat. Shit, when the best thing about a movie is the poorly done cover of a classic punk song *(“T.V. Set,” originally by THE CRAMPS, I have no clue who did this version, and don’t care), that rolls through a portion of the credits, it just makes you sick that they couldn’t even use the original song. Why’s it ALL gotta be bad rehash? *(I wonder if this is how all the STAR WARS fanatics felt toward the last 3 films, and will most likely feel over the next 3 as well.)
What we get is a 101 minute rehash of the original *(and aspects of POLTERGEIST 2 thrown in for no reason whatsoever) that would make a five year old laugh. The original is one of my favorite films, to this day retaining certain elements that still keep it creepy to me on a nostalgic level. Sam Rockwell *(a man who admittedly loathes children) plays the father, and the family has just moved into some kind of dream home, yet suffering some kind of rich person financial strife. The house itself has none of the strange ambience it had, even in the daylight shots, of the original. Craig T. Nelson originally played the father, convincingly and of the times. Sam Rockwell’s portrayal comes off as, well, a man who loathes his children. Horribly miscast, he just kind of funny-faces his way through the film.
The whole storm scene, with the grabby tree, is rendered not only entirely neutered of the tenderness of the *(absent from this film) “lightning count scene,” but also the sheer terror of the monstrous oak tree attack - - - here it’s the world’s softest fern tree attacking the children and whisping against the house. Oh, and the children - - - yeah, all their names have been changed. WTF? That’s just as offensive as changing the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE’S “Leatherface”/Bubba’s name into Thomas Hewlett for that shitheap reboot - - - and makes about as much sense. “Carol Ann” is supposed to be “Carol Ann,” damnit, not “Madison” - - - who the fukk is “Madison”? And the boy, “Clifford”? They couldn’t have made the family more dislikeable if they tried.
And in the first ten minutes they are aware of the fact the housing development is built on top of a “removed” cemetery - - - and have no problem with this! The teenage daughter, named “Kendra” keeps fukking around with her computer, taking the film momentarily into that “First Person” niche of current filmmaking. The paranormal idiots that show up to try and fix everything the first time are completely inept - - - and of all scenes, what they did with my personal favorite from the original - - - the maggot-steak and subsequent hallucinated face-tearing - - - are nowhere to be found, replaced by a lame drill gag that never pays off. And instead of bringing in some kind of oh, say, creepy-ish ZELDA RUBINSTEIN-esque *(though she’s truly irreplaceable) medium, they bring in some “John Edwards/Edgar Cayce” type late-night paranormal internet show host - - - who happens to be the lead scientists ex, which ends the film on a seriously angering, neck-hackle raising note. After the terrible cover, of corpse.
And that’s pretty much what we’re looking at here, a film that makes constant allusions *(sometimes for no reason whatsoever, like Sam Rockwell’s sudden vomiting of a slithering leech thing into the sink, seen for merely seconds, as opposed to Craig T. Nelson’s tequila-worm nightmare from POLTERGEIST 2, again no payoff, unlike that forever branded series of nightmare inducing visuals Craig T. endured) to the first film/series, with nary a moment of originality nor fright, nor even fun, to be had, Which is not unexpected.
Hollywood’s been pulling the wool over our eyes since celluloids inception in various ways. We’re at that point where it’s all superheroes, remakes, and reboots, ever since Abbot & Costello met Dracula and the HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN *(both of which I love, incidentally) collapsed in on themselves in a fiery tumult of retrospective embarrassment, unfortunately, the real gems being found only after sifting through the piles of shit and half-realized nostalgia out there to find the real gold *(fukk, I’d be happy with bronze half the time).
The film in general seems forced, and far overindulged in all the wrong aspects *(do we really need not one insipid looking clown, but the whole fukking brigade as well?) - - - and the end is just a blithering, blathering mess that I’m not going to even bother going into. I’ll tell you this, however, I never want to hear the words “This House Is Clean” uttered again for as long as I live. Avoid the curiosity, save your feline self a life, and avoid this insulting remake altogether.