Right off the bat I have to admit I am not a fan of horror films. And no it’s not that I’m some scaredy-cat or anything (which is childish) but instead do not really enjoy the feeling of being fearful. That’s like trying to purposely stress myself out; why would I do that? Plus I’ve beaten a few “Resident Evil” video games but unlike the movies, I have a nice magnum in my back pocket to keep me comfortable.
So going into “Poltergeist” I was expecting to have a lot of jump scares and consistent fear throughout. However it was not really a horror film. Instead of trying to constantly scare you, the film relied more on an eerie feel coupled with some solid special effects for the time.
Now while I knew what the movie was about going into it, there were some things I didn’t expect. First off, when strange as well as abnormal things are happening in your house, why would you stay there? I mean sure it’s interesting but anything that out of the ordinary which defies logic is not something I want to stay near. While I wouldn’t call myself superstitious, I would say that I know when it’s time to leave.
As the film goes on, the creepy and unnatural activities taking place in the house intensify leading up to the young girl disappearing. From then on, the family coupled with some paranormal “experts” tries to find out what is going on, how do they get their daughter back and how they leave. It’s definitely entertaining and consistently tense as the film continues to unnerve you.
I was surprised at the lack of jump scares which is what I expected going into the movie. But with that said, there were plenty of creepy moments. The fabled mirror scene is one that stood out especially for the time. I wasn’t quite as grossed out as I expected but it reminded a lot of the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and I can tell you, that gave me nightmares for years when I was a kid.
And that might have been why I wasn’t scared. Yeah the special effects were good but since “Poltergeist” came out in the 80s, its scares don’t always carry over to today’s standards. This is definitely a film that would have had more of an impact on me had I watched it growing up. It definitely had a Steven Spielberg feel both in the lighting and tone so even though I was not scared per se, I was on edge at certain points.
Look I’ll never get into horror films but this I can get into. There is a distinction between being outright fear inducing and creating intensity with the latter being more of a positive for me. That’s when you are caught up in the film and can’t really keep your eyes off what is going on. While I was happy that “Poltergeist” was not the frightening horror film I was anticipating, it turned into the kind of movie I’d like to see. Sometimes even horror movies find odd ways to surprise you.