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Poltergeist parents guide

Poltergeist Parent Guide

Thematically, "poltergeist" might actually be considered a family film. but remember that the bonding moments are often overshadowed by angry ghosts and electrical static..

This remake of the 1982 film Poltergeist re-envisions a family's fight against evil ghost that attack their home and take their daughter hostage.

Release date May 22, 2015

Run Time: 93 minutes

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The guide to our grades, parent movie review by kerry bennett.

Over 30 years ago Director Tobe Hooper did to television sets what Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho did to showers . He made them one of the scariest things in the house. Poltergeist (1982) was frightening enough to inspire two more sequels starring a little blonde actress who held her hands up to the static-filled screen and talked to dead people. Sadly, 12-year-old Heather O’Rourke died shortly after filming for the third Poltergeist wrapped up.

Three decades later the new Poltergeist has lost some of the spine-chilling punch of the original, thanks in part to the plethora of horror movies that have ripped off the film’s scariest moments. But now a dark-haired, freckle-faced Kennedi Clements takes over the lead role, playing a little girl innocent enough not to know she’s communicating with the imprisoned souls of those who can’t find their way to the light.

From the moment this family, made up of an unemployed father (Sam Rockwell), stay-at-home mom (Rosemarie DeWitt) and three kids (Clements, Catlett and Saxon Sharbino) moves into a new neighborhood littered with foreclosure signs, strange things begin happening. Closet doors open and close themselves. The post of the banister at the bottom of the stairs gives off an electrical shock, an ancient tree in the yard scratches repeatedly against the windowpanes and Kennedi’s character, Madison, begins talking to “imaginary” friends.

For audience members who love the goose-bump inducing thrill of a horror movie, Poltergeist has a few good jump scenes, along with the obligatory flickering of lights and the foreboding sense you’re being watched. Yet it also has some odd side stories. Dad has been out of work for an undisclosed amount of time. That leaves one “ghostbuster” wondering if the explanation for the unexplained occurrences might not just be a hoax in order to get a reality show. (Yes the script has been updated to include things like tablets, cell phones and reality TV.) There’s also a love story between secondary characters (Jared Harris and Jane Adams) that feels forced and a little out of place in a plot about disembodied specters.

From a content perspective, Poltergeist is full of the expected grotesque images, character peril, non-graphic violence and things that go bump in the night. There’s also some brief strong language and a dozen or so profanities. Dad turns to alcohol on a few occasions to help deal with his stress and frustration. And, other than a moment of married canoodling in the bedroom, the film is free of sexual depictions.

Thematically, Poltergeist might actually be considered a family film. It’s a story of parents and children pulling together to reclaim their little girl while going through tough financial times. Still, before you haul your own kids off to see this reboot of the franchise, remember those bonding moments are often overshadowed by angry ghosts and electrical static, which likely won’t be appropriate fare for your offspring.

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Poltergeist rating & content info.

Why is Poltergeist rated PG-13? Poltergeist is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense frightening sequences, brief suggestive material, and some language.

Violence: Frequent scenes depict physical and emotional distress of characters (often children) that are subjected to trauma from spirits in the afterlife. Characters are pulled into a dark and scary realm where obscured images of skeletons and partially decomposed humans are seen. Some characters display injuries that appear to be deep scars. A family engages in verbal confrontation.

Sexual Content: A married couple plans to engage in sexual activity but is quickly interrupted by a child.

Language: A character says “eff-ing”. A scatological term and other mild profanities are infrequently heard.

Drugs/Alcohol: A father frequently turns to alcohol to alleviate stress.

From the Studio: Legendary filmmaker Sam Raimi (“Spiderman,” “Evil Dead”, “The Grudge”) and director Gil Kenan (“Monster House”) contemporize the classic tale about a family whose suburban home is haunted by evil forces. When the terrifying apparitions escalate their attacks and hold the youngest daughter captive, the family must come together to rescue her before she disappears forever. © Fox

Page last updated July 17, 2017

Poltergeist Parents' Guide

Talk about the movie with your family…

Suburban settings, as opposed to old haunted houses, are becoming more common in horror films. Why do you think this change has happened? Do you think a movie is more frightening if it takes place in an environment we can relate to? Can you recall a movie that was scary even though it took place in a fantastical location, like outer space?

The interior of the home in this movie does not match the exterior views we see of it. What interior elements have been “stretched” to match the typical elements we are used to seeing in a horror movie?

Eric Bowen is, among other things, frustrated that his only son is a bit of a scaredy-cat. Can a parent’s perception of a child influence how he or she interacts with the child? How does Eric respond to Griffen in comparison to how his wife does? What motivates Griffen to push aside his fears?

The most recent home video release of Poltergeist movie is September 29, 2015. Here are some details…

Home Video Notes: Poltergeist Release Date: 29 September 2015 The 2015 movie Poltergeist releases to home video (Blu-ray or 3D Blu-ray) with the following special features: - Theatrical Cut - Extended Cut - Alternate Ending - Gallery - Theatrical Trailers

Related home video titles:

This movie is a remake of the 1982 film Poltergeist , which was written by Steven Spielberg. That same year, he also directed E.T.—The Extra-Terrestrial about a group of young children that find and befriend an alien creature.


Tobe hooper, production year, release date, horror, thriller, approx. running minutes, poltergeist.

A family finds their house is haunted but what first appear to be friendly spirits turn out to be far more sinister. Frequent jump scares and scary horror images are more suitable for older teenagers. … Read more

A family finds their house is haunted but what first appear to be friendly spirits turn out to be far more sinister. Frequent jump scares and scary horror images are more suitable for older teenagers.

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  • Kennedi Clements

Sam Rockwell

  • Kyle Catlett

Jared Harris

  • Soma Bhatia
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  • "A solid remake (...) It’s infrequent and particularly satisfying when the remake of an especially memorable film equals or exceeds the experience of the original."  Justin Lowe : The Hollywood Reporter
  • "Just as the original was one of the scariest PG movies ever, the reboot has about as much gruesomeness as you can possibly stuff into a PG-13 (...) Rating: ★★½ (out of four)"  Kyle Smith : New York Post
  • "[A] professionally executed yet bloodless film (...) An act of homage that hews reverently to its source material while missing the essential spirit and vitality that once powered it."  Andrew Barker : Variety
  • "This new spooky-house chiller never escapes the shadow of its predecessor, but it also pales next to the scores of subsequent movies — 'The Conjuring', 'Insidious', and 'Paranormal Activity'."  Alonso Duralde : The Wrap
  • "A workmanlike exhumation of the sprightly 1982 family-friendly horror (...) The biggest emotion Poltergeist arouses, is a surge of respect for how good the original really was."  Fionnuala Halligan : Screendaily
  • "The characters may be new and the effects more sophisticated (though far less inventive), but the plot remains essentially unchanged. (...) Rating: ★★★ (out of five)"  Tom Huddleston : Time Out

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"Horror For Kids" and the Poltergeist Remake

Pat Higgins

Screenwriter, director and producer

There were concerned murmurs in certain parts of the horror community a few days ago, when Sam Rockwell described the upcoming Poltergeist remake (in which he stars) as "more of a kids' movie" . This got me thinking about a few things; specifically whether or not the original Tobe Hooper flick could be considered to be a "kids' movie" too.

That original film was rated PG by the MPAA on original release in the USA, but slapped with an X by the BBFC when it came out in the UK (nowadays it's a 15). Clearly, those two classification bodies couldn't quite decide what they were dealing with either. Was this a family-level film with some scary bits, or a full-tilt horror flick from which children should be protected at all costs? In 1982, the MPAA didn't have the option of a PG-13 rating as a middle option, but the BBFC did have the AA (which barred anyone under 14) but opted instead to go for the X (barring anyone under 18).

Aside from the actual content of the movie (the face-ripping scene still seems remarkably strong meat for any kind of PG rating, although I guess Raiders of the Lost Ark had melting faces and exploding heads in the same year, and that secured PG on both sides of the pond), I think there's another interesting point about what is considered 'age appropriate' at the heart of Poltergeist . Specifically, that it clearly is 'for kids' in the sense that the scares within it are specifically designed to freak out the young.

A while back, I was asked by a horror fan who had never seen the movie whether it would live up to his expectations. I was about to answer an enthusiastic 'yes' when I paused; all of my experiences of Poltergeist are filtered through having first seen it in my early teens. Poltergeist taps into the fears of a child rather beautifully. It sums up the unknown terrors of the thing under the bed or the scary shadow outside the window better than any other flick I can think of. Approaching it for the very first time as an adult, having left those kind of fears behind and moved onto more tangible concerns, I suspect that it might underwhelm.

The same thing works in reverse for The Exorcist . I know that the last time it was re-released at cinemas, there were certainly a considerable number of teens and young adults guffawing at the screen and generally screwing up the experience for everyone. It would be tempting to write this off as whistling past the graveyard; as the behaviour of young people very enthusiastically showing off how scared they weren't in order to look tough. There's probably a bit of that, true, but I think there's something else too. For a teenager, The Exorcist simply isn't a particularly scary movie. The horrors of the movie are pitched squarely at the fears of the parent not the child, and as those under 25 are notoriously bad at empathy (for various interesting biological and evolutionary reasons that I won't go into here) they're likely to come out of it pretty unscathed. Show the flick to a 40 year old with a kid approaching puberty, however, and I think you'd fairly quickly kill the idea that the flick has lost all its power over the years.

So, why do we protect kids from movies that are concerned with things unlikely to scare them in the first place, yet often show them movies that are specifically designed to scare them shitless? Granted, I'm over-simplifying the issue (there's certainly content in The Exorcist that you might rather that little Timmy didn't see for reasons other than whether it might scare him or not) but we do certainly seem to be happier exposing kids to terrors that are specifically designed to resonate with them than those that aren't.

On a similar front, the director of the recent Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death has criticised the BBFC for giving that flick a 15 rather than the 12a that was granted to its predecessor. Granted, that 12a made the first movie the most complained about movie of 2012 , so you can hardly be surprised at the BBFC for perhaps being a little cautious with the Radcliffe-free sequel. I haven't seen that flick yet, so don't feel qualified to comment, but some of the poster imagery certainly seems to be playing the 'scare the crap out of the kids' angle to the max.

I'm sure we'll get to dance this dance once again when that pesky Poltergeist remake actually hits cinemas, of course. It's one thing to make a film aimed at kids, but its quite another to get a certificate that lets them watch it.

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Rarely has a remake felt more contractually obligated than the 2015 version of “Poltergeist.” There are a few decent performances, a nice riff on the technology fears that drove the original movie, and a centerpiece of horror that works, but never once do you get the feeling that the people behind this remake are here because of artistic passion or creative drive. They’re here because, well, somebody had to be here, so why not them? With remakes of “Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Friday the 13 th ,” “Evil Dead,” and more already on the books, “Poltergeist” is even arguably a bit late to the party. And they didn’t bring a gift.

The Bowen family has fallen on hard times. Eric (Sam Rockwell) has lost his job at John Deere, forcing them to move to a new home, one which his teenage daughter Kendra ( Saxon Sharbino ) openly mocks. Mother Amy ( Rosemarie DeWitt ) has raised a beautiful family, but may have to go back to a day job to make ends meet. Son Griffin (Kyle Catlett) is going through that fearful time of childhood when we hear noises in our closets and wonder what’s under the bed. Finally, Madison ( Kennedi Clements ) is a unique little girl, the kind who talks to her imaginary friends a bit too often.

Before the Bowens have even unpacked, weird things are afoot in their new abode. Griffin hears sounds in his attic bedroom, and finds a box full of creepy clown toys. He also really doesn’t like the look of the old tree nearly scratching his skylight. One night, while Eric and Amy are out to dinner, all Hell quite literally breaks loose. In a pretty effective centerpiece, all three children are attacked separately. Hands popping out of the floor, trees crashing through windows, and those damn clowns—it’s a solid sequence that ends with Madison being taken to the other side. As she fights for survival between worlds, the Bowens have to call in paranormal experts (including Jared Harris and Jane Adams ) to save their little girl.

Tobe Hooper ’s “Poltergeist” had two thematic foundations that have been essentially transferred intact to Gil Kenan ’s version. It was no mere coincidence that little Carol Ann was sucked into her TV as fears that the idiot box would forever destroy the next generation were pretty common in the early ‘80s. In the update, technology is everywhere, and even integrated into the narrative in scenes like the one where Kendra hears something strange through the static on her smartphone and the later use of drone technology. The fear of technology isn’t quite developed adequately here (nothing is), but I liked how David Lindsay-Abaire captured the modern world in which we are surrounded by electrical toys—the ominous shots of the power lines behind their house are not accidental.

Even more importantly, “Poltergeist” in both forms has a solid answer for the common question that plagues haunted house movies: Why don’t they just leave? By the time the Bowens figure out what’s going on, one of them is missing, and they’re forced to band together to save her. In many ways, especially in the original, it’s about a broken family uniting in common cause to save one of their own. That element is strong here thanks in no small part to believable husband-wife chemistry between Rockwell and DeWitt and solid kid performances, especially Catlett.

The problem is that neither of these elements feel fresh or new. Nothing about “Poltergeist” feels fresh or new. And while the mere joy of seeing actors like Rockwell and DeWitt do their thing works for a little while, it can’t sustain as the horror narrative intensifies and a few things get decidedly goofy to maintain the PG-13 rating. By the last act, I really didn’t care what happened to the Bowens or those brought in to save them. The stakes don’t feel nearly as high here and the thematic undercurrents of the first act have disappeared as the actors and filmmakers go through their motions. Harris is having fun as a reality TV star ghost hunter but he can’t fix the screenwriting flaws of a project that inevitably feels like it's just racing to the end, and not in a way that produces any sort of tension.

Maybe we’re a more cynical audience and the films that have copied the original “Poltergeist” over the years have lessened the impact of the original blueprint so slavishly followed here. If that’s the case, Kenan and his team needed to find another reason to update it. Or any reason at all really. 

One Final Note: Rarely has 3D been less essential or felt like more of a cash grab. See it in 2D if you choose to see it at all.

Brian Tallerico

Brian Tallerico

Brian Tallerico is the Managing Editor of, and also covers television, film, Blu-ray, and video games. He is also a writer for Vulture, The Playlist, The New York Times, and GQ, and the President of the Chicago Film Critics Association.

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Film credits.

Poltergeist movie poster

Poltergeist (2015)

Rated PG-13 for intense frightening sequences, brief suggestive material, and some language

Sam Rockwell as Eric Bowen

Jared Harris as Carrigan Burke

Rosemarie DeWitt as Amy Bowen

Nicholas Braun as Boyd

Saxon Sharbino as Kendra Bowen

Kennedi Clements as Madison Bowen

Jane Adams as Dr. Claire Powell

  • David Lindsay-Abaire

Director of Photography

  • Javier Aguirresarobe

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  • Released: 22nd May '15
  • Debut position: 4
  • Highest position: 4
  • Debut gross: £1.5 Million
  • Debut weekend: 22nd May '15
  • Debut gross: $22.6 Million
  • Release: No global cinema data.

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Highest chart position: 4

Weeks on box office: 3

Highest US chart position: 4

Weeks on US box office: 11

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POLTERGEIST (2015): Film Review

poltergeist 2015 age rating uk

Poltergeist A family whose suburban home is haunted by evil forces must come together to rescue their youngest daughter after the apparitions take her captive.

With ideas seemingly running scarce in Hollywood, 30 years later it’s Poltergeist’s turn for a facelift and with the release being mysteriously brought forward by two months, the film has received a surprisingly low key release campaign.

Choosing not to stray too far from the original storyline, Poltergeist follows an unemployed Sam Rockwell downsizing to a new home out of economic necessity with his wife and three children and it’s not long before the two youngest start noticing that all is not quite right with their home. Their youngest daughter (no longer Carol Anne as per the original but now a more contemporary Madison) is the first to start making conversation with unseen spirits whereas her slightly older brother grows increasingly more scared of the spooky goings on. All comes to a head in a superbly orchestrated sequence where the oldest daughter, a stroppy teenager, annoyed at being moved from her friends, babysits the two younger siblings ending with her young sister being spirited away.

The much loved original was always going to be a hard act to follow but the revamp focuses so much more on the children, especially Kyle Catlett as the middle child, vanquished by guilt for not having saved his sister but scared silly by things that go bump in the night. The film certainly embraces and re-enacts many of the original’s key scenes (the possessed tree, the evil clown and the iconic shot of the TV to name but a few) whilst adding its own imposing moments, notably an excellent sequence with a paranormal expert attaching a monitor in a cupboard. Said set up is also the only scene which really uses the 3D in a comin-at-ya kind of way. It’s also pretty much the only scene that forces the viewer’s imagination to ramp up the scare factor and the film can’t resist creating an almost Hieronymus Bosch portrayal of the spirit world.

Scribe David Lindsay-Abaire has expanded the children’s roles and hints at the implication of the involvement of technology with overhead power cables causing the oldest sister particular concern from the outset, but equally he updates the film with the use of mobile phones, tablets and even drones in pivotal sequences.

The children are all well cast whilst Sam Rockwell as the out of work father and Rosemarie DeWitt as the mother (bearing an uncanny resemblance to squawking, shouty TV presenter Davina McCall) handle their roles with a limited arc.

Unlike the wholly unnecessary shot-for-shot remake of Psycho, this updated version of Poltergeist has more than enough going for it to serve as an entertaining Saturday night date movie and, coming in at a pacy 93 minutes, it’s somewhat shorter than the original. If you are one of those few who are yet to get acquainted with Tobe Hooper’s masterpiece then this is a perfectly acceptable – though perhaps not particularly necessary – remake of an ‘80s classic.

Words: Simon Hooper @anygoodfilms?

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Poltergeist (2015)

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The Evil Dead  director Sam Raimi presents a modern take on the 1982 suburban frightfest  Poltergeist , with Gil Kenan ( Monster House ) directing. Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt star as the Bowens, a couple whose youngest daughter is abducted by terrifying apparitions.

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Poltergeist (2015) | Ratings & Reviews

"A remake of the Steven Spielberg-produced domestic horror classic from 1982 could quite reasonably have suffered from a case of the 'John Carters'. Which is to say, it's based on source material that has been so influential, any new adaptation would undoubtedly be cursed by a sense of over familiarity."

Flicks, Dominic Corry

"An act of homage that hews reverently to its source material while missing the essential spirit and vitality that once powered it."


"Very tame, but saved from the remake scrapheap by Sam Rockwell's surprisingly touching performance and a final reel that - briefly - takes the material somewhere new."

Total Film

"This has more in common with slick, audience-goosing modern spookers like 'Insidious' than with Hooper & Spielberg's imaginative original."

Time Out

"It’s a scare machine, and in this respect Kenan’s is the more efficient telling..."

The Telegraph

"It’s a shame Kenan can’t muster his own bit of gothic shorthand for post-credit crunch America, but the film still has a fluid, 3D-orientated immediacy."

The Guardian

"Not only delivers on the promise of Hooper's Poltergeist, but significantly raises the stakes for similar PG-13 fare."

Hollywood Reporter

"A disappointingly tame and unimaginative effort, which throws away much of what was best-loved about the original and fails to find worthy replacements."

Empire Magazine

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Amazing halloween movie, too much violence and scary, i think parents should know that in poltergeist a guy pulls his face off you later figure out that it was a hallucination still terrifying though and gory there’s no other gory parts in the movie, but that part was very scary. definitely not on for kids under 14 the rest of it though was pretty spooky., family love conquers all, very good for halloween.

Julie K.

2nd best horror movie

Originally rated as m..

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Poltergeist’s PG rating was a crime against kids of the ’80s

I haven’t seen a horror film since I was 9 years old. I blame Steven Spielberg.

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JoBeth Williams And Craig T Nelson In ‘Poltergeist’

I haven’t seen a horror film since I was nine years old. That’s when Steven Spielberg and Jack Valenti scarred me for life.

Spielberg was responsible for 1982’s Poltergeist ; Valenti was responsible for the Motion Picture Association of America. And both are responsible for turning Poltergeist, a haunted-house horror masterpiece (I’ll grant it that) from a unanimously-rated R to a PG on appeal.

This was before PG-13 ratings, a period well documented in pop culture. Except very little of it mentions Poltergeist . Films like Red Dawn (the first PG-13), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom , and Gremlins are more considered the rating’s spiritual ancestors. But Poltergeist made it necessary.

In Connie Bruck’s 2001 profile of Valenti in The New Yorker , Spielberg, after haranguing the MPAA over Poltergeist ’s rating, is said to have promised Richard Heffner, chairman of the ratings board to “get that for you.” He meant the creation of PG-13, or some rating between PG and R. To me, that’s evidence enough that Spielberg knew Poltergeist was no PG movie — which in 1982 was basically taken as a G without animation or the Disney logo.

But Spielberg, Valenti and Poltergeist distributor MGM still browbeat Heffner into re-screening the movie for the ratings board. And, lo and behold, a panel that had been 24-0 in favor of R was now 20-4 for PG. “The fix was in,” Heffner said later, meaning Valenti got to the jurors. MGM and Spielberg needed that kid-tested-mother-approved PG rating if it was going to make any money, and Valenti was gonna do them a solid.

I saw Poltergeist on HBO in 1983, toward the end of my fourth-grade year. I don’t think I slept for a month. When I tried, I reverted to a fetal posture; less surface area for the evil tree to grab. It doesn’t help that, at this time, I also used my closet light as a nightlight. The glowing bedroom closet was a big part of Poltergeist . That was where “The Beast” lived, right? I can’t really remember for sure because, you know, I only watched the thing once .

Here’s the part where you guess I saw the movie by myself or at a friend’s house, given the broad license to watch anything PG. Here’s where you’re wrong. The only thing my parents ever forbade me and my brother from watching was The Dukes of Hazzard , probably because my dad’s name is Roscoe.

And as for Poltergeist , I found out the rating didn’t matter.

“Dad, did you know Poltergeist was originally rated R?” I said, after reading The New Yorker profile.

“No,” he said. “So what?”

“So, you told me and Brendan to watch it when I was nine, I guess because it was PG,” I said.

“No, I saw that the year before. I thought you and your brother would like it.”

“You what ?!” I demanded. “You actually recommended that? After seeing it? What were you thinking ?!”

Dad dug in and went Red Forman on me. “I was thinking, what the fuck, kids like being scared,” Dad said. “Quit being a [wimp].”

Like being scared ? Like this was a ride at Carowinds? My ass! This film is not a “boo!” followed by giggles and squeals. This movie is an evil tree plunging through the bedroom window, dragging your ass outside.

It’s got body horror, in the form of a guy pulling his own face clean off in the bathroom. My acne phase sure was fun after this, Dad!

It’s got an evil clown doll, for God’s sake. Valenti was said to have unofficial rules (usually sex or swear words) that automatically got you an R. The evil clown is such a below-the-belt punch for kids, how is that not one of them?

And, of course, the coup de grace: the skeletons in the pool! These are supposedly ACTUAL HUMAN REMAINS being used as props, mind you, and no one told JoBeth Williams they were in the pool. Of course! We want her to be totally fucking terrified! People like being scared!

Twenty-four MPAA ratings reviewers saw all this and said, “Yep, that’s an R!” Who could argue? Spielberg, that’s who. According to Bruck’s profile , he insisted that the film was PG because it was “all threat and fantasy, no reality.”

To which I say, fuck you, mister! This movie is jam-packed with stuff to specifically and intentionally terrify children. It’s not limited to the clown, the tree (Spielberg is said to have taken inspiration from one that creeped him out as a child), and the bedroom closet. The evil is in the TV! There’s one in every room to take you straight to hell! You’re not safe inside your own home, especially at night (which is always strobe-lit by lightning). Are there monsters buried under your house? No? Yes? How do you know? Do you like swimming in a swimming pool? No sharks in a swimming pool, right? Just your disinterred neighbors.

No, Spielberg, MGM, and good pal Valenti wanted a PG on this because it was a summer movie that needed a wide audience, the kind you get with a drop-the-kids-off-and-go-shopping PG. MGM had bought United Artists the year before and the deal wasn’t going so well. The company needed a hit, and Valenti needed MGM to keep paying its MPAA dues. Poltergeist was indeed the first box office hit of the MGM/UA period, but it hardly mattered. MGM’s business would be reorganized and sold repeatedly over the rest of the decade.

After the betrayal, of Spielberg to his audience, Valenti to his ratings board, the ratings board to the rest of us, and, of course, Dad to me and my brother, I adopted a hard “no scary movies” policy that remains in effect to this day.

Not at parties when I was a teenager, not on a date, not in a boat, not with a goat. My high school friends were into shit like Hellraiser and Phantasm, and watching The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby on VHS. Good for them, I was into having a good night’s sleep. My rationale, then as now, is that if Poltergeist is a PG — by the way, it still is — then the shit that’s R is probably 100 times more terrifying. I know my own imagination. I know the hell my mind will inflict on me when I’m all alone. I get freaked out just reading the Wikipedia entry for The Amityville Horror .

So, since Poltergeist, 37 years ago, the scariest thing I’ve seen is the scene where that lady gives birth to the lizard baby on V: The Final Battle . And how that got onto network TV is almost as mind-boggling as Poltergeist ’s PG.

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A family's suburban home is invaded by angry spirits. When the terrifying apparitions escalate their attacks and take the youngest daughter, the family must come together to rescue her.

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Poltergeist (1982)

  • Parents Guide


  • Violence & Gore (8)
  • Profanity (5)
  • Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking (3)
  • Frightening & Intense Scenes (8)
  • Spoilers (3)

Sex & Nudity

  • Mild 104 of 216 found this mild Severity? None 90 Mild 104 Moderate 10 Severe 12 We were unable to submit your evaluation. Please try again later.

Violence & Gore

  • Moderate 79 of 142 found this moderate Severity? None 2 Mild 26 Moderate 79 Severe 35 We were unable to submit your evaluation. Please try again later.
  • A tree comes to life, breaks a bedroom window and tries to drag away a small child, but he is saved in time. Edit
  • A man is seen tearing his face apart. We see bloody chunks of flesh fall into a sink, and his completely mangled face is seen several times. A flash of light reveals that it was only a hallucination, and he is completely unharmed. This is the goriest scene in the movie. Edit
  • A young girl is sucked screaming into a portal. Edit
  • Several decaying corpses and skeletons are seen towards the end of the film. Edit
  • A woman falls into a large hole filled with water were several skeletons appear. They are very grotesque looking. Edit
  • A woman is attacked by spirits and flung around a room. She is unharmed. Edit
  • A creepy clown doll pops out and attacks a child. It wraps its arm around his neck and strangles him, before dragging him under the bed. The child is able to get the upper hand and he escapes, tearing up the clown doll. Edit
  • A mouth-like portal tries to suck two children into it. They scream in terror, but are unharmed. Edit
  • Mild 91 of 145 found this mild Severity? None 9 Mild 91 Moderate 37 Severe 8 We were unable to submit your evaluation. Please try again later.
  • 2 uses of hell Edit
  • One use of the middle finger. Edit
  • 7 uses of Shit
  • 3 uses of Son of a Bitch
  • 1 use of Bastard

Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking

  • Moderate 50 of 124 found this moderate Severity? None 5 Mild 57 Moderate 50 Severe 12 We were unable to submit your evaluation. Please try again later.
  • The parents are seen smoking marijuana. They discover it in a drawer at home, and decide to smoke it together. It is implied that it was hidden there long ago and forgotten about; a remnant of the couple's younger "hippie" days rather than something they still do. Edit
  • Adults are seen drinking beers while watching a football game. Edit
  • Steve can be seen in Dr. Lesh's office with a cigarette that you never actually see him smoke. Edit

Frightening & Intense Scenes

  • Severe 90 of 174 found this severe Severity? None 4 Mild 16 Moderate 64 Severe 90 We were unable to submit your evaluation. Please try again later.
  • There are many prolonged sequences of strobing lights in this movie that may trigger seizures to people with photosensitive epilepsy or any other photosensitivity. Edit
  • The fact that the reveal of the skeleton pool uses ACTUAL skeletons can uncomfort some people. Edit
  • One scene has a tree attacking and attempting to swallow a young boy. The tree crashes through a window and actually pulls the kid outside with its branches. Edit
  • A scene has a man hallucinating that he is pulling the skin and flesh off of his face. The bloody chunks fall into a sink. Edit
  • One scene in a closet has a man angering a demonic spirit. The spirit's grotesque face manifests in the doorway. Edit
  • One scene has a woman trapped in an unfinished swimming pool and discovering that it is filled with rotting skeletons. Edit
  • Although no deaths are evident in the film, it has many scenes that place children in threatening conditions. Edit
  • A jump scene where a woman opens a door and a deafening shriek occurs, and another where a loud thunder and an explosion of wind comes down the stairs, knocking people to the floor. Edit

The Parents Guide items below may give away important plot points.

  • Diane is sleeping in a shirt and panties. A ghost pulls up her shirt, revealing her stomach and panties. You can clearly see her genitals bulging in her underwear for a few seconds. The ghost drags her around the room for an extended period of time, with her panties constantly visible. She then spends the next 15-20 minutes in only her shirt and panties. No actual nudity, and not meant to be sexual. Edit
  • In the scene where the ghost pulls up Diane's shirt, it feels like the ghost is assaulting her as she repeatedly tries to pull her shirt down to cover herself but the ghost pulls it back up and throws her around the room. This was almost the case in a behind the scenes photo, but it was cut and instead toned down. Edit
  • Despite its supernatural theme. The film deals realistically with the distress of the parents and siblings at the disappearance of Carol Ann. Edit

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2015, Horror/Mystery & thriller, 1h 33m

What to know

Critics Consensus

Paying competent homage without adding anything of real value to the original Poltergeist , this remake proves just as ephemeral (but half as haunting) as its titular spirit. Read critic reviews

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Poltergeist videos, poltergeist   photos.

All seems well for Eric Bowen (Sam Rockwell), wife Amy (Rosemarie DeWitt) and their three children as they move into their new house in the suburbs of Illinois. Soon, youngest daughter Maddy (Kennedi Clements) begins talking to an imaginary friend, or so the family thinks. It's not long before sinister spirits wreak havoc in the home, holding Maddy captive and forcing the parents to consult a team of parapsychologists who engage the supernatural entities in a battle for the girl's freedom.

Rating: PG-13 (Intense/Frightening Sequences|Brief Suggestive Material|Some Language)

Genre: Horror, Mystery & thriller

Original Language: English

Director: Gil Kenan

Producer: Sam Raimi , Rob Tapert , Roy Lee

Writer: David Lindsay-Abaire

Release Date (Theaters): May 22, 2015  wide

Release Date (Streaming): Sep 4, 2015

Box Office (Gross USA): $47.3M

Runtime: 1h 33m

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Production Co: Fox 2000 Pictures, Ghost House Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Sound Mix: Dolby Digital

Cast & Crew

Sam Rockwell

Rosemarie DeWitt

Kyle Catlett

Griffin Bowen

Dr. Claire Powell

Jared Harris

Carrigan Burke

Nicholas Braun

Kennedi Clements

Madison Bowen

Susan Heyward

Saxon Sharbino

Kendra Bowen

David Lindsay-Abaire


Executive Producer

Audrey Chon

John Powers Middleton

Becki Cross Trujillo

Javier Aguirresarobe


Jeff Betancourt

Film Editing

Bob Murawski

Marc Streitenfeld

Original Music

Kalina Ivanov

Production Design

Delphine White

Costume Design

Martin Gendron

Art Director

Victoria Burrows

Scot Boland

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People’s Choice Awards Nominations 2016

Critics Consensus: Tomorrowland is Visually Striking But Narratively Uneven

Critic Reviews for Poltergeist

Audience reviews for poltergeist.

I will admit, I didn't watch it all. I made it to the clown scene. However, I'm such a big fan of the original that I couldn't get into this one at all. I guess if it was an original story, it would be passable, but I am just sick of great movies being remade. It is unnecessary and I didn't like the updating on this one. The teenage daughter also needed a kick up the ass, who wants to watch an entitled brat carrying on about a mobile phone on Poltergeist!

poltergeist 2015 age rating uk

Sitting through Poltergeist, you'll find yourself justly questioning the need for such a thankless, scare-free remake of a perfectly acceptable, if slightly dated, 80's horror classic. That is if you have seen the original; and if you haven't, do yourself a favour and skip this for that. The effects are decent, but the plot offers nothing new over the original. Family dynamics may change with the advent of new technology, but the spooks here haven't upped their game in the last 20 years if this is anything to go by. Rockwell and and DeWitt are better than this as well. Yawn.

Updated for modern audiences, Poltergeist is a solid remake that delivers some frightful thrills. After moving to a new house that's been built on a former cemetery the Bowen family comes under attack from supernatural forces. Sam Rockwell leads the cast and gives an impressive performance. Additionally, the director does a good job at creating atmosphere and building tension. And, the writing makes some interesting changes that contemporizes the story. Though not as revolutionary as the original, Poltergeist is still a well-crafted and chilling horror film.

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  1. Poltergeist (2015)

    Mild 11 of 26 found this mild No live action blood Profanity Mild 12 of 22 found this mild The teenage daughter says "bullsh--" to her parents and then the 6-year-old copies her by saying it also. "effin" is used in place of the F-word twice, some light profanities but surprisingly not as excessive as many other recent movies.

  2. Poltergeist (2015) Movie Review

    Parents' Guide to Poltergeist (2015) By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer age 13+ Ghostly remake is scary but not as good as the original. Movie PG-13 2015 93 minutes Add your rating Parents Say: age 12+ 15 reviews Any Iffy Content? Read more Watch Our Video Review Watch now A Lot or a Little?

  3. Poltergeist (2015)

    1h 33m IMDb RATING 4.9 /10 61K YOUR RATING Rate Play trailer 1:43 16 Videos 99+ Photos Horror Thriller A family whose suburban home is haunted by evil forces must come together to rescue their youngest daughter after the apparitions take her captive. Director Gil Kenan Writers David Lindsay-Abaire Steven Spielberg Michael Grais Stars Sam Rockwell

  4. Parent reviews for Poltergeist (2015)

    July 18, 2020 age 18+ A violent disturbing movie which is too scary for even young teens! This movie should be rated R. R: Sequences of frightening/disturbing violence with some langauge. Helpful urbeauty4l Adult October 17, 2018 age 10+ Not good Sucks!!!! Helpful

  5. Poltergeist Movie Review

    age 13+ One of the all-time great haunted house movies. Movie PG 1982 114 minutes Add your rating Parents Say: age 12+ 55 reviews Any Iffy Content? Read more Talk with Your Kids About… Read more A Lot or a Little? What you will—and won't—find in this movie. Positive Messages Despite frightening ghostly activity, the dedicati Positive Role Models

  6. Poltergeist (2015 film)

    Poltergeist is a 2015 American supernatural horror film directed by Gil Kenan, written by David Lindsay-Abaire, and produced by Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Roy Lee. It is a remake of the 1982 film of the same name and is the fourth installment overall in the Poltergeist franchise.

  7. Kid reviews for Poltergeist (2015)

    Scary, thrilling adventure into the supernatural world has nightmarish elements; little gore. Rated 12+ for intense frightening sequences, and some suggestive references/language. —————Poltergeist is a pretty scary movie. Watch out for lots of jump scares, as well as horror elements such as poltergeists, skeletons, etc. Helpful. Kid ...

  8. Poltergeist Movie Review for Parents

    Run Time: 93 minutes Official Movie Site Get Content Details The Guide to our Grades Parent Movie Review by Over 30 years ago Director Tobe Hooper did to television sets what Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho did to showers. He made them one of the scariest things in the house.

  9. Poltergeist

    28/07/1982 Genre (s) Horror, Thriller Approx. running minutes 114m Film Poltergeist A family finds their house is haunted but what first appear to be friendly spirits turn out to be far more sinister. Frequent jump scares and scary horror images are more suitable for older teenagers. Content Advice (May contain spoilers) Threat and horror

  10. Poltergeist (2015)

    Poltergeist is a film directed by Gil Kenan with Kennedi Clements, Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie Dewitt, Kyle Catlett .... Year: 2015. Original title: Poltergeist. Synopsis: Legendary filmmaker Sam Raimi and director Gil Kenan reimagine and contemporize the classic tale about a family whose suburban home is invaded by angry spirits. When the terrifying apparitions ...You can watch Poltergeist ...

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    The horrors of the movie are pitched squarely at the fears of the parent not the child, and as those under 25 are notoriously bad at empathy (for various interesting biological and evolutionary...

  12. Poltergeist movie review & film summary (2015)

    Tweet Poltergeist Now streaming on: Powered by JustWatch Rarely has a remake felt more contractually obligated than the 2015 version of "Poltergeist."

  13. Family Movie Review: Poltergeist (PG-13)

    Adapted for a 2015 audience, the "Poltergeist" remake now has a PG-13 rating (lots of jump scares, but not that much gore) but with less social commentary or political implications. There is still a Native American burial ground, still an evil tree, still a portal to another world.

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    Also in the cast: Rosemarie DeWitt, Saxon Sharbino, Jane Adams and Nicolas Braun. 6/10. Lower then average horror flick, and poor remake. 851222 20 September 2015. Greetings from Lithuania. "Poltergeist" (2015) is a poor remake of a good original movie, but it is not the worst flick on it's own.

  16. POLTERGEIST (2015): Film Review

    Posted on: May 20th, 2015 Poltergeist A family whose suburban home is haunted by evil forces must come together to rescue their youngest daughter after the apparitions take her captive.

  17. Poltergeist (2015)

    How to watch online, stream, rent or buy Poltergeist (2015) in the UK + release dates, reviews and trailers. The Evil Dead director Sam Raimi presents a modern take on the 1982 suburban frightfest Poltergeist.

  18. Parent reviews for Poltergeist

    Kids say (234) age 12+ Based on 54 parent reviews Add your rating Sort by: Most Helpful Sarah T. Parent of 3 and 8-year-old August 15, 2020 age 10+ Great Introduction To The Horror World, Dependent On Your Child Tonight I watched this movie with my daughters.

  19. Poltergeist's PG rating was a crime against kids of the '80s

    In Connie Bruck's 2001 profile of Valenti in The New Yorker, Spielberg, after haranguing the MPAA over Poltergeist 's rating, is said to have promised Richard Heffner, chairman of the ratings...

  20. Poltergeist

    4.9 (60k) Genres Horror, Mystery & Thriller Runtime 1h 33min Age rating 15 Production country United States Director Gil Kenan Poltergeist (2015) Watch Now Rent £3.49 4K PROMOTED Watch Now Filters Best Price Free SD HD 4K Stream Ads HD Rent £3.45 HD £3.49 4K £3.49 4K £3.49 £3.49 4K £3.49 Buy £5.99 4K £5.99 4K

  21. Poltergeist (1982)

    Moderate 79 of 142 found this moderate A tree comes to life, breaks a bedroom window and tries to drag away a small child, but he is saved in time. A man is seen tearing his face apart. We see bloody chunks of flesh fall into a sink, and his completely mangled face is seen several times.

  22. Poltergeist

    Strange and creepy happenings beset an average California family, the Freelings -- Steve (Craig T. Nelson), Diane (JoBeth Williams), teenaged Dana (Dominique Dunne), eight-year-old Robbie (Oliver ...

  23. Poltergeist

    Rating: PG-13 (Intense/Frightening Sequences|Brief Suggestive Material|Some Language) Genre: Horror, Mystery & thriller Original Language: English Director: Gil Kenan Producer: Sam Raimi, Rob...