After the massive success of Steven Spielberg's Poltergeist
in 1982, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
did what is done all-to-often and attempt a sequel. To continue the story and entertain the masses? Of course not. To squeeze some more cash out of the loyal horror community and whoever else falls into their trap. I'm not claiming Poltergeist 2: The Other Side
is terrible, but it's definitely not as good as the first.
is sequel in which we continue with the Freeling family and their attempts to escape the phantoms that pursue them, but we also learn alot about what happened before the first film and why the spirits were/are so pissed off. It's kind of a sequel/prequel in a way. Depends on how you look at it.
We learn the Freeling family has fled to Diane "Mom" Freeling's mothers house where they plan to regroup their thoughts and attempt a new life elsewhere. After a year of no work and insurance companies demanding to know where their old house disappeared to, the stress begins to tear the family apart. Shortly after learning Carol Anne, her mother and her grandmother all share the same psychic abilities, Carol Anne's grandmother passes away in her sleep and the family inherits the house. While the family is out shopping at a local shopping mall a strange (and obnoxiously creepy) old man begins following the family while constantly singing "God is in His Holy Temple." He follows them to their house where he demands to be let in to "help" their child before it's too late.
Around this same time we are introduced to Terry, a Native American man who was sent by the creepy midget lady, Tangina Barrons, from the first film. He's a healer/exorcist/ancient warrior with a mission to help rid the Feelings of the demons who pursue them. Terry and Tangina had dug a massive hole underneath where the pool used to be at their old house and discovered an ancient cave filled with corpses. We learn the old creepy guy who was following the family was a cult leader back in the 1800's who trapped his followers in the cave, claiming Armageddon was close at hand. After the predicted day came and passed, the followers slowly died of starvation and suffering.
Once everything starts going all crazy in the Freelings new house, Terry explains the spirits are following them because they are attracted to Carol Anne's life-force and strong spirit. They plan to drag Carol Anne into "the other side" where they hope to steal her life-force and return to the world of the living.
Ok. That's the main details. The rest I'll keep silent or I'll ruin the whole damn movie for you guys. The film stays true to the original in that there is no blood shown, the ghosts/apparitions are in the same vein and they managed to get all
the same actors back. That's what impressed me the most about Poltergeist 2
, the fact they got all the original actors back. There's nothing worse for a sequel when they replace a different actor for the same character. That always bothers the shit out of me.
The TV screen which Carol Anne used to speak with the dead in the first film has been replaced with a pink toy telephone. I found this to be a clever swap. Instead of the TV turning on and showing static, a plastic phone rings inside Carol Anne's room. The main thing I didn't find clever about the film was the introduction of Terry, the Native American. His role just makes the film seem cheesy and unoriginal. Especially when he's in full war paint and turning camp fires from orange to bright blue. LAME. This isn't Dances With Wolves
Overall, Poltergeist 2: The Other Side
is a respectable sequel, but not quite as good as the original. If you were a fan of the first you will definitely like this addition. You might see flaws here and there with the plot direction, but what film doesn't have at least a few?