Having been part of the camp who didn’t find the first Poltergeist scary, I was hoping for redemption with the sequel. Sadly, Poltergeist II: The Other Side was even less frightening than the first and far more confusing. Featuring the Freeling family again, this movie finds them living with Diane’s mother a year after their house was sucked into thin air. Creepy things start to happen and a Native American named Taylor moves in and a dead reverend lurks around the house singing and making threats. Confused yet?
It’s difficult to be scared when you don’t understand what’s happening. It’s difficult to be scared of a story you can’t follow. If a poorly written, confusing story was actually frightening then I wouldn’t be saving horror. In a way, there is something scary about a messy plot, but only in the this-is-so-horrible-it’s-scary way. Poltergeist II seemed much more far-fetched paranormal than the first; it went from being a simple ghost story to a tale of group suicide and religious burials. I found it immensely difficult to follow along, so much so that I became frustrated, annoyed and even bored.
While there were few scares in the first film, this one had even less. At least the end of Poltergeist had a few doozies. This sequel featured zero scares and nothing about the plot induced fear. The character of the reverend was creepy and he had villain potential, but it amounted to nothing. With a stronger, more focused story, he could have been a great villain.
I don’t have much to say about this film. Sometimes a short review is the mark of disappointment. And I was definitely disappointed. I expected much better from the follow-up to a horror fan-favorite. There’s one more stop on Poltergeist lane, so here’s hoping it redeems the franchise. I don’t think any of the other creatures on horror island are too worried, though, after this poor showing.
If you liked Poltergeist II: The Other Side, you might also like Poltergeist and Sinister.