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A sufficiently entertaining remake of the horror classic



In 1982's Poltergeist, a little girl sits before a snowy TV set, hands on the screen patty-cake style, looking like she might be somehow pulled into it. (She is.) In Gil Kenan's 2015 remake, the image is upgraded with fancier apparitions and a much thinner television. But the story is generally the same: handsome three-kid family moves to a new house built on a cemetery (what is it about cemeteries and suburban real estate?); displaced spirits inhabit household objects (and one tree) to lash out against and terrify the family. The rules don't make a whole lot of sense, but Kenan and producer Sam Raimi keep the affair lighthearted. Leaning heavily on the charm of Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt as the parents, the story is shallow but brief, more startling than scary and, overall, a pretty harmless way to spend 90 minutes.

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