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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate 15
Cast
Craig T Nelson
Beatrice Straight
Heather O'Rourke
Directors
Tobe Hooper
Screenwriters
Steven Spielberg
Running Time
114 minutes

EMPIRE ESSAY: Poltergeist
Heavily Spielberg-influenced 80s horror


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Plot
While living in 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 televison. It is not long when the mysterious beings enter the house's walls. At first seeming like harmless ghosts, they play tricks and amuse the family, but this friendly behaviour doesn't last for long...


Verdict
Managing to cause ripples post release — two sequels, a TV series plus a real life "Curse Of Poltergeist" that gained currency following the tragic deaths of Heather O' Rourke and Dominque Dunne (oldest daughter Dana) — the movie remains a riveting demonstration of cinema's power to startle. And its concluding lesson — that you should always choose movies over television — is one you ignore at your peril.


Reviewed by Ian Freer

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