Release Date: August 27, 2014
Director: Jordan Pacheco
American Poltergeist, which I sadly made my friends watch recently, opens with a group of paranormal researchers and investigators checking out a reportedly haunted house. The owners of the house started noticing strange things almost immediately after moving in, including finding things moved around the house and something rearranging their groceries. After finishing up the job, one of the investigators, Matt, heads home to the house he lives in with his girlfriend Jamie.
Jamie clearly isn't into the whole ghost thing, which she refers to as his ghost shit. She's even less happy when some of the same stuff that happened in the house he just worked in starts happening in their own home. It starts out slow, with Matt losing his keys one day and later finding the keys sitting on the hook where they always are. She later comes into the kitchen and finds everything from their cabinets sitting on top of each other on the table. Though she tries to tell Matt that something is wrong, he doesn't want to believe her. When the restless spirits decide to take their anger out on Jamie, Matt finally starts to pay attention.
American Poltergeist was one of those movies where we originally laughed and then stopped laughing because it just got a little sad. The main problem with the movie is the editing. There's one scene where Matt leaves the house while it's dark out and supposedly later in the night. He comes back just a few minutes later and it's suddenly bright light outside. When Jamie finds everything rearranged in the kitchen, Matt walks in, opens the cabinets, and doesn't see anything wrong because everything is back in place. If you look closely though, you can clearly see that the cabinets are empty.
Then there is the house itself. As someone with a deep interest in historic architecture and preservation, I had to laugh and roll my eyes when Matt mentioned that it was his family home and had been in his family for awhile. Strange, given that it looks almost exactly like the house my parents owned that was built in the 1940s.
While I wasn't a big fan, I did get a kick out of the plumber in the film. After the faucets begin turning on on their own, Matt, who knows this is a sign of a haunting, decides that they just have old pipes and calls a plumber for help. When something happens to Jamie, Matt rushes her to the hospital and leaves the plumber there alone. Watching him wander through the house and help himself to a beer made me giggle, and I had to laugh even more when the spirits suddenly chase him out of the house.
There were a few good scenes in the movie other than that though. The director did a good job of showing the spirits dragging Jamie and Matt across the floor and around the house in a way that actually makes you believe something unseen is in the room. I also liked some of the end moments where the spirits manage to call Jamie and ask her to come back to the house while sounding exactly like Matt. The spirits even mimic his good friend Paul to make her think the house is safe again.
Except for a few scenes, American Poltergeist is just another horror movie I'll forget within a week.