A young family are visited by ghosts in their home. At first the ghosts appear friendly, moving objects around the house to the amusement of everyone, then they turn nasty and start to terrorise the family before they "kidnap" the youngest daughter.Written by
"Poltergeist" is Steven Spielberg's vision of a ghost story, and a great one at that. This is an outstanding movie in every way possible. It has terrific acting, a good story to tell, a nice sense of humor, and astonishing special effects. Plus when I first saw this film, it was pretty scary.
"Poltergeist" tells the story of a suburban family living in a small town in California who's home is abruptly invaded by supernatural forces who are anything but friendly, and proceed to terrorize the entire clan. This is a movie that plays like a roller-coaster ride, and once it gets going it never stops.
Tobe Hooper, who directed the original 1974 cult classic "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", was picked by Spielberg to direct "Poltergeist". He does a fine job of creating scares and tension, even though rumors were floating around that writer/producer Spielberg actually stepped in and directed some of the film (Spielberg went on to say that Hooper was the director of "Poltergeist" even though Spielberg was very much involved with this film from start to finish). To me, it doesn't matter who directed it. This is still an excellent horror movie. Spielberg did a great job as writer/producer, and even if he had directed the whole movie it would still be as good. JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson are wonderful as the head of the Freeling family, with Dominique Dunne, Oliver Robins, and Heather O'Rourke equally good as their kids. The late Oscar-winning actress Beatrice Straight ("Network") scores points as a parapsycologist investigating the hauntings, and Zelda Rubinstein steals scenes as the mysterious clairvoyant brought in to "clean house". The acting is great, but it's the Oscar-nominated special effects that dominate. Wow! This horror film is a must-see!
***** (out of five)
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