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1,880 Ratings


Directed by Tobe Hooper
United States, 1982


While living an an average family house in a pleasant neighborhood, the youngest daughter of the Freeling family, Carol Anne, seems to be connecting with the supernatural through a dead channel on the television.

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Poltergeist Directed by Tobe Hooper

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1983 | 3 nominations including: Best Effects, Visual Effects

Critics reviews

It’s parenthood elevated to the level of the divine—though, if the physical rotting corpses that erupt at its conclusion is any indication, the God of Poltergeist is far from a benevolent one.
October 26, 2016
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I love it when scary movies run through a whole spectrum of emotions, but with Poltergeist I fear the sweetness weighs down the horror. Too often the spectral manifestations play like a high-tech light show, seeking “ooh!”s and “ahh!”s from the audience. Could’ve used just a sliver of bitterness.
November 02, 2014
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What makes this cadenza especially satisfying is the Spielbergian suburban idyll and low-level weirdness that slowly built towards it: branches tapping against a window during a storm that turn into grasping appendages, a steak’s sluglike movements across a countertop, the “TV People” that spirit away the absurdly cute Carol Ann. And if that doesn’t scare you: yes, they used real skeletons.
October 29, 2014
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What are people saying?

  • Nicholas Gregory's rating of the film Poltergeist

    A kiddie-horror film, lacking the adult traits of the genre, like a cynical bitterness and a mean streak. The cutesy and comical flavor could work if it wasn’t puerile and overblown. It’s debated if Hooper truly directed it, as Spielberg’s style is no-doubt all over it. To me it more shows Spielberg’s yearning of childhood isn't often as sophisticated. Jaws lacked it and was everything this isn't-- smart and scary.

  • Filipe F. Coutinho's rating of the film Poltergeist

    A diary of questions and observations by someone watching Poltergeist for the 1st time: - Daughter sees mom almost flushing dead fish down the toilet. Is this all just a metaphor to loss of innocence? - Why does a 5 and a 8 year old have a poster of Alien in their bedroom? If the parents allowed the kids to watch it and then proceeded to buy the poster, they deserve the suffering they’re about to go through(cont'd)

  • Richmond Hill's rating of the film Poltergeist

    An odd creature this, combining Speilbergian sentimentality with modest horror tactics - a formula continued with Gremlins replacing shlock with slapstick. It holds attention despite uneven pacing, variable performance styles and certainly one false finale too many. A tightening of plot and reduction of length would have improved matters, although the occasional satiric barb on Americana pokes through in recompense.

  • HKFanatic's rating of the film Poltergeist

    At a recent screening in San Francisco, I was disappointed to find that the 70mm print was in such bad shape that "Poltergeist's" deep blue and black hues instead read as magenta. I was worried it would impact my enjoyment of finally seeing the film on the big screen, but such is the power of "Poltergeist" that five minutes later it didn't matter. The warmest, funniest, and most joyous horror film ever made.

  • msmichel's rating of the film Poltergeist

    In '82 this well told mix of family story and horror film delivered both jolts and a moving story about the power of familial love. 30 years on the effects are pretty damn creaky but the tale is still enjoyable despite all the copycats and parodies since. Jobeth Williams was spectacular here and interesting turns by Straight and Rubinstein were fun as well. Less successful were the child performances.

  • Duncan Gray's rating of the film Poltergeist

    Whether Spielberg was the secret director or just an extremely helpful producer, this is still an important entry in his canon, a B-side to E.T. that captures childhood fear as much as E.T. did childhood loneliness. And if you pay attention to the little details (and you really should), you get a pretty bitchin' satire of the advent of Reagan's America. One last thought: WHY DIDN'T THEY LEAVE THE GODDAMN HOUSE!?!

  • Michael H. CLAES's rating of the film Poltergeist

    Mommyyyyyyy !!!!! ............................ Un rare équilibre d'humour, d'émotion et de fantastique. ----------------------A rare balance of humor, emotion and fantasy.

  • Zachary T.'s rating of the film Poltergeist

    Inspired, but I ultimately found it overwrought — E.T. era Spielberg’s kiddie sentimentality clashes with Hooper’s evident desire for a claustrophobic, nonstop descent into gruelling terror a-la Texas Chainsaw.

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