(1982)

Critic Reviews

79

Metascore

Based on 7 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
88
Poltergeist's most canny conceit is how it takes the concept of a haunted house-up to that point a gothic, remote icon (you practically had to accept a dare and then drive halfway across the state to ever find yourself in one)-and plops it in the middle of the most mundane of all possible locations: American suburbia.
88
Poltergiest is no nonstop scream express; at times it pulls its punches (Spielberg wants that PG rating), and at times its effects are bigger than life and less than terrifying. But like Spielberg's Jaws, which was a perfect genre movie, Poltergeist does what it's supposed to do about as well as it can be done.
80
Poltergeist often sounds as if it had been dictated by an exuberant twelve-year-old, someone who's sitting by a summer campfire and determined to spin a tale that will keep everyone else on the edges of their knapsacks far into the night.
80
A surprisingly yet successfully restrained lesson in how to haunt a house.
80
Washington Post
Poltergeist proves closets are full of skeletons and scurrying ids. Hooper and company arouse childhood fears, teasing away adult defenses, making us hunker in our seats as the kids dive under the "Star Wars" sheets. It gives us the jeebies, third stage, without letting up, but spiritually, it's uplifting. [4 June 1982, p.13]
75
Poltergeist is an effective thriller, not so much because of the special effects, as because Hooper and Spielberg have tried to see the movie's strange events through the eyes of the family members, instead of just standing back and letting the special effects overwhelm the cast along with the audience.
50
Given the talents, Poltergeist is an annoying film because it could have been so much better.

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