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Some horror movies need to be remade (and still, the Prom Night remake was way, way worse than the original); others, i.e. Psycho, Halloween, Jaws, do not. Poltergeist is on that latter list. The 1982 haunted house flick has a mystique to rival most films. Who really directed it: the credited Tobe Hooper or Spielberg? For crying out loud, the franchise has a freaking curse! The remake can only hope for drama that interesting, because it certainly does not generate any on its own.

When Eric and Amy Bowen (Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie Dewitt) move into their new home with their three kids (What? No Carol Anne?), weird things start happening, most centered on their cute daughter, Madison (Kennedi Clements). After she disappears, the family calls on experts, including TV personality Carrigan Burke (Jared Harris), to get her back.

Poltergeist does little particularly wrong and absolutely nothing right. If you are going to remake a movie that so indelibly frightened a generation, you had better bring some novel ideas or fresh scares or more than just another scary clown. Monster House director Gil Kenan and screenwriter David Lindsay–Abaire (The Rabbit Hole) missed that memo. The most frightening thing about the new Poltergeist will be how quickly it is forgotten.