poltergeist

The distinctions between “reboot,” “remake,” and “sequel” aren’t always clear. It’s possible for a film to serve as one of those things while technically being categorized as another, or even to fit all three descriptions at the same time.

The new Poltergeist coming from MGM seems like it might be one of those projects that kind of works at all three. While it’s previously been categorized as a remake, a newly emerged plot details suggest it may also be a sequel of sorts to previous films. Hit the jump to get the latest info.

A few days ago, Bloody Disgusting described the plot of the new film, which is being directed by Gil Kenan and written by David Lindsay-Abaire, as follows:

[T]he new version follows Eric Bowen and his family who, after he loses his job, relocate to a new town to start anew. His daughter, Madison, is abducted, making him truly understand what’s important in life: family. In the new version, Eric’s wife, Amy, can communicate with the dead.

Another interesting new character is Carrigan Burke, a television personality who hosts “Haunted House Cleaners.”? The supernatural doesn’t scare this guy. Dr. Brooke Powell is Carrigan’s ex-wife who is a parapsychologist at a local university.Her team investigates the supernatural events surrounding the disappearance of the Bowen girl.

That synopsis made the film sound like a reboot of the 1982 original rather than a straightforward scene-for-scene remake, but now Moviehole has additional details which point to Kenan and Lindsay-Abaire’s take being a sequel. According to the site, the upcoming movie will be set in the same universe as previous Poltergeist installments, with the Freelings’ old house serving as a connection.

In one scene in the new film, the kids’ find some things behind the sliding panel in the attic. Yep, you guessed it – they find some of the Freeling’s possessions, intentionally left behind. There’s the Star Wars bed sheets (from Robbie’s room), a black-and-white TV set (why, of course!), and some Christmas decorations.

Although the new film may possess new characters and somewhat of a different storyline, all the “familiar beats” from the original “Poltergeist” films are in it. There’s the scary tree that proves a looming threat to our youngster (and gets pulled underground), the freaky ‘clown’ that sits upon a rocking chair in the bedroom (in this case, the clown sits in younger brother Griffin’s room), and of course there’s ‘phone’ trouble (in this case, older sister Kendra’s iPhone gets damaged by unseen forces), and of course the little girl – Madison – who makes friends with ‘The Lost People’ that nobody can see (but who don’t mind ‘showing off’ – making Madison’s hair stand up like she’s just been struck by electricity, being just one of their ‘tricks’).

Basically, it sounds like Kenan would be taking the same approach to the Poltergeist franchise as Fede Alvarez did to Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead. Which isn’t a bad way to go. The fact that the Freelings’ home was actually destroyed in the original could prove a sticking point with some fans, but presumably the new filmmakers will figure out a way to work around that little snag. So longtime followers of the series can enjoy the links to the original story, while newcomers won’t have to worry about sorting through old mythology.

Whatever you want to call it — reboot, remake, or sequel — the new Poltergeist shoots this fall in Toronto.

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