First, you’re going to be a little uneasy when a big studio decides to remake a beloved horror classic. Second, it’s a bit alarming when that remake’s release date gets delayed. And third, you’re going to be downright terrified when Sam Rockwell dubs the film a “kids’ movie.” However, with the release of Fox’s Poltergeist remake just about six months way now, director Gil Kenan is reassuring longtime fans that respecting the Tobe Hooper original is a top priority. Here’s what he told USA Today:
“Whenever someone approaches material that’s so beloved, there’s a reflexive reaction to be worried. It’s a responsibility we take very seriously. We’re working to make a Poltergeist film that lives up to the original’s legacy.”
Screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire’s version of the story will go down in a contemporary setting. Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt lead as the parents of young Madison (Kennedi Clements). When they move into a “suburban fixer-upper,” they soon come to realize that the house could use a serious spiritual cleansing as well. Just like the original, the entities access our world via TVs, but thanks to the modern setting, there isn’t just a single TV in the living room. The Bowen’s house is filled with screens. Here’s what producer Sam Raimi had to say about the additional conduits to the spirit world:
“The original film commented on how we’ve let television get out of control, babysitting our kids. It’s only gotten worse with the handheld portable devices. Screens are everywhere.”
Considering I regularly watch my four-year-old niece sit at the dinner table staring at an iPad, this is actually a pretty disturbing concept. When things get too intense, the Bowens turn to Jared Harris’ character for help. There’s no mention of him being the star of a show called Haunted House Cleaners here, but USA Today does dub him “a respected supernatural researcher and clairvoyant.”
Kenan insists that his film is “an emotional story at the core,” focusing on a mother and father’s fight to save their child, but the big question is, is it scary? Here’s what Kenan had to say about that:
“The film is super-scary. And it’s scary on its own terms. I am excited to finally be able to share that with the world.”
I’ll believe it when I see it, or perhaps just when I see a solid trailer, which could come any day now. Kenan really hit the nail on the head with that first quote. There is a reflexive reaction to be worried and, as someone who cherishes the sleepless nights I had as a kid courtesy of Hooper’s film, I’m definitely concerned about the reboot respecting the legacy of the 1982 original.
Hopefully a strong teaser trailer will deliver a confidence boost, but for now, check out the very first Poltergeist reboot images below. The film is due to hit theaters in 3D on July 24th.