Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986)

Poltergeist II: The Other Side
Director: Brian Gibson
Writer: Michael Grais, Mark Victor
Sequel to: Poltergeist
Cast: Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Oliver Robins, Heather O’Rourke, Zelda Rubinstein, Will Sampson, Julian Beck, Geraldine Fitzgerald

After the recent events surrounding the Freelings, they have left their house and moved in with Diane’s (JoBeth Williams) mother Jess (Geraldine Fitzgerald). In a new location they hope to find a little more peace and to rebuild their life. But Tangina (Zelda Rubinstein), the medium who helped the last time, has a dream that everything might not be quite as over and dealt with as they had hoped. She sends her friend Taylor (Will Sampson) to help the Freelings who find themselves yet again followed by evil forces.

Poltergeist II unfortunately couldn’t keep up the quality of the first film, even if the Freelings continue to be a wonderful family.


Poltergeist II tries very hard to connect directly to the first film – and having the same cast obviously helps. But I don’t think that they had planned to have a second film when they finished the first film – and so the connection is a little tenuous throughout. In particular the fact that there is supposedly a second unrelated graveyard beneath the first just really stretched any and all credulity.

Also, while it is admirable in the spirit of representation of minorities, that they added a Native American solely to have him be the magical watch dog of the Freeling family was all kinds of problematic. Especially since the movie kinda halfway implies that the traditional Native American culture gives him those magic powers and you know, that isn’t racist at all.

PoltergeistII-1Also annoying was the fact that the women in this one are mostly reduced to screaming and aren’t the vibrant characters anymore that they used to be in the first film. They are still better than most of the women in horror movies we get, but for most of them it’s due to the groundwork laid in the first film. At least the Freeling family still works as a wonderful unit, even if not quite as enchanting as in the first film.

Maybe I would have liked the film better if I hadn’t loved the first one quite as much. But since I didn’t even get remotely scared or laughed as much as in the first one, I very much doubt it.

PoltergeistII-2Summarizing: You don’t miss much if you leave it at the first film.

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