Poltergeist III (1988)

Somehow, this second sequel to the classic original is even worse than its predecessor. This time, Carol Anne finds herself living with her aunt and uncle in a Chicago high rise, and he change of location is a breath of fresh air on its own and leads to several stunning shots of downtown city views. Unfortunately, literally everything else is stale and dead-on-arrival: The screenplay seems like a sloppy afterthought, while the special and practical effects are embarrassingly cheap – but nothing compares to the poor set design, confusing story and weak acting that litter every scene. It’s never quite clear what’s going on or why, and the characterizations change from scene to scene, and even Zelda Rubenstein (as series-favorite Tangina) can’t rescue the movie because the screenplay has turned her into a platitudinous bore. As the movie’s main character, Carol Anne is rather underdeveloped and inaccessible, and it doesn’t help that her name is repeated ad nauseum from beginning to end, prompting frustrated groans and eye-rolls from an increasingly impatient audience. By the time the movie’s final shot undoes the entire events of the movie, you’re long past caring and just relieved to see the final credits mercifully roll.

Rating: ★★ (out of 5)

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