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Poltergeist | 2015 | PG-13 | - 3.6.4

Remake of the eponymous 1982 film: A family realizes it is haunted when their youngest child begins to speak to invisible entities inside a closet and their television set. When evil forces capture the little girl, her parents (Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt) hire a professor and a TV ghost hunter to exorcise the demons. Also with Jared Harris and Jane Adams. Directed by Gil Kenan. [1:33]

SEX/NUDITY 3 - A woman walks out of the bathroom wearing a snug tank top and panties, revealing the outlines of nipples; she says that her underwear is sad and her husband (he's clothed) says his underwear is happy and they kiss. A wife lies on her back on a bed and her husband lies on top of her, kissing her a few timers briefly until she says, "Take off your pants" and he does so (we see his bare thighs briefly) but a little boy runs into the room and the husband pulls his trousers back up.
 A husband hugs his wife and kisses her briefly. A man puts an arm around his ex-wife for a few seconds. A man kisses a woman on the cheek briefly.
 In a double entendre and instance of flirting, a male ghost hunter says, "I have special powers" and his ex-wife says, "They're not that special"; in another instance, when static electricity makes the hair stand up on the heads of a little boy and a little girl, she says, "I saw you move your ding-a-ling!"


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VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - A husband and his wife move their three children to an old house in a suburb and within a day, scary sounds begin to emanate from the walls and appliances of the house; lightning flashes seem to appear in rooms as lights go on and off and a stair banister shocks several people with static while doors open and close, a child's keyboard plays by itself and a softball rolls itself across a floor; we hear running feet, echoing voices in several rooms and folding doors on a closet stick shut, open themselves then slam shut several times.
 A man attempts to use an electric drill to open a closet wall but something drags the drill and his arm through the wall, pulling his arm several more times to hit the man's face on the wall and we hear the drill start up on the other side of the wall as we see the long bit burrow through from the other side, making holes in a line across to the man' face; he screams and finally pulls his arm out of the wall (claw marks cover his forearm, but disappear). About 50 slimy skeletons come out of a closet to grab a little girl's feet as her mother and other adults hold on to her hands and arms while all the furniture and appliances in the house begin to break apart and fly into a portal that is behind the skeletons. In a small closet, a boy finds a large number of clown dolls as they fall from above his head to the floor; they have maniacal expressions, blackened teeth and wide, crazy eyes, and one clown rolls to a corner of the room, laughs demonically, and then jumps at the young boy twice, trying to strangle him; the boy kicks it and stomps on its head to break it apart (the face breaks off and the eyes bulge loosely).
 We see a young girl flown up a staircase by something holding her ankle until a man rushes in and the family retrieves the girl as the house breaks apart, the front yard turns to gaping holes of mud and human bones, and the house explodes in fireballs and smoke. A man sees a little girl in a closet that turns out to be a roaring demon without eyes, teeth or tongue, just black holes; the man picks up a length of pipe and pounds on the wall until it breaks open to show blinding light, and he throws part of a table in and it falls through the ceiling of a room downstairs as his wife moves their young son out of the way. A deep male garble emanates from a big screen TV and we hear that evil spirits haunt the house; a little girl stands close to the static-filled screen and when she places her hands on it a dozen adult hands touch it from inside the flat screen. A little girl's hand touches the screen form inside as her mom touches it from the outside, then adult palms and fingers from inside the screen surround the girl's hand. During a storm two balls of light enter a little girl's closet, a stuffed toy rolls in by itself and she follows it to see the closet become a universe of stars against a black sky and adult hands grab her wrists and ankles, dragging her away as she screams (in several subsequent scenes, the closet wall fills with flames and sparks). A violent thunderstorm includes heavy rain and several flashes of lightning that scare a little boy who screams several times in his room while a claw-like limb from a backyard tree animates and pounds in windows, breaking glass loudly; reaching in a window, it grabs the boy, drags him through the house and outside as he screams and his parents drive up and see him struggle and fall to the ground (he is uninjured). People throw a thick rope through a portal as a guideline and argue about who is going as a young boy dives in the entrance; inside we see darkness, muck and skeletons with long claws and he and his sister fall unconscious and through a ceiling to land on a mattress; they are covered with black slime and their parents wash them, clothed, in a tub of water until they gasp awake.
 An cell phone crackles with static as a teen girl carries it around her house; the cracking changes to garbled voices; the concrete floor in a room breaks up and oily mud rushes up and the girl slips and falls in it as she sees an unknown figure crouching in a corner and screams, ending the scene. A man hires a ghost hunter/medium and a paranormal expert to rid his house of evil spirits and to draw his young daughter back out of a TV set in which a spirit is keeping her captive; as they record auras around a house a chair throws itself into a wall and breaks. The entrance portal to an afterlife is in the back wall of a little girl's bedroom closet and the exit is in the living room ceiling. A family of five climb into their SUV and begin to back out of the driveway, but unseen entities block their way, tip the vehicle to its side, then to its roof, and then throw it through the wall of a living room where the people hang upside down inside the SUV, uninjured. As a family drives away from a house, we see thick columns of blue and white light filled with arms and hands of spirits rising into the sky.
 Large towers with power lines that spark occasionally stand near a group of bones partially buried in a yard; a little boy digs up a vertebra and looking into the hole, we can see a human spinal column vertically in the loosened dirt. The ground in front of a house cracks open and oily mud rushes up, dislodging skeletons, some of which roar into the camera; bones and rib cages lie in the muck as well. A man hallucinates that black slime, blood, worms and maggots are coming out of his eyes, nose, and mouth after he drinks whiskey at his kitchen sink (please see the Substance Use category for more details). A man pulls up his trouser leg to show his calf healed but gouged out with red scars from a close encounter with demons.
 Entities control a closet and communicate with a family's young daughter in muffled growls and garbled human voices; as she and her brother touch a closet door handle, their hair stands on end with static electricity.
 A ceiling lamp twirls as wind knocks down a boy in a living room and a girl's spoon suddenly appears bent at breakfast. A woman falls against a milk crate filled with comics and curses; her young son takes them away and hears muffled voices and turning around he sees the comics stacked in a matrix in a doorway and then blow away down a hallway forcefully. A teenage girl stomps on a flat screen TV, breaking it.
 A squirrel snarls and tries to escape a metal cage trap. Inside a house, a frightened squirrel runs fast across the screen and the dad pretends it is a monster, slamming doors and shouting until he starts laughing. A zombie video game shows male and female zombies chewing on human bones and grunting as a man fires a rifle at one and misses.
 A teen girl says that she is going to go vomit; she leaves the room (we see or hear no vomit). A boy plays a video game and his little sister accuses him of flatulating and that it smells bad. An eight-year-old boy is fidgety, nervous and tells his father that he as scared of everything; his mother becomes frustrated and calls him a baby.
 A husband and his wife are irritated with each other because of their unemployment and financial problems and argue throughout the film. A boy and his teen sister screech violently and jabber about a little sister being missing. An eight-year-old boy screams loudly for many seconds in several scenes, when he is frightened and when he wants adults to listen to him. A family arrives at their new house and the father yells at movers as they back into a mailbox with their truck. We hear that realtors in the neighborhood tell clients that city officials relocated a cemetery under a house, but hear later that the city moved only the headstones. A man says some discoloration on one hand is from a fight with an angry spirit. A little girl says to a woman realtor, "My last closet ate me." We hear that the ghost buster survived uninjured.


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LANGUAGE 4 - 1 not-fully enunciated F-word, 8 scatological terms, 1 mild anatomical term, 6 mild obscenities, name-calling (stupid, jerks, crazy, craziest, ridiculous, dork, baby, weird, fat), stereotypical references to men, women, children, the unemployed, the rich, ghosts, demons, ghost hunters, paranormal experts, Scots, Native Americans, exclamations (shut-up in a text), 1 religious profanity (GD), 6 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A woman tells her young son to take Dramamine for car rides (he does not do so). A man pours bourbon into coffee cups and drinks with a woman, a man pours whiskey into a coffee cup and drinks but spits it out when he suffers hallucinations (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details) and then pours the bottle down the drain, and men and women drink wine from large glasses and a man drinks whiskey from a short glass at a large party.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Haunted houses, ghosts and demons, superstitions, faith, exorcism, kidnapping, suffering, fear, courage, responsibility, unemployment, problem solving, working together, effective action, remakes.

MESSAGE - Investigate a house and land thoroughly before you purchase it.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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