The brilliance of Poltergeist isn’t in its special effects or its Steven Spielbergbranded movie magic. It’s in the film’s mundaneness. The Freeling family home is an ordinary house in an ordinary suburban community. The characters aren’t overly likable, special or interesting. The Freelings could be any typical American family. Therein lies the terror. While the film lends itself to some wonderfully quotable moments, it also brings good old-fashioned haunting into the modern suburban home. As the Freelings get sucked into closets and harassed by electronics, audience members begin to glance suspiciously at their own TVs, and white noise begins a reign of terror that will reach its apex with 2002’s The Ring.
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