The Eighties were a time of many proud traditions. For example, male rock singers had big hair and wore lots of makeup, it was acceptable to wear animal-print sweatpants, and horror movie sequels sucked. Case in point: “Poltergeist 2.” Despite the embodiment of the evil spirits in the genuinely creepy Reverend Kane, “Poltergeist 2” is nothing more than a sad attempt to ride the success of a much better movie.
The plot of “Poltergeist 2” is nearly identical to the original: evil spirits attempt to abduct young Carol Anne to help them cross over to the other side. The leader of the dark spirits, Reverend Kane, tries to trick the Freeling family into letting her go, but they also have a new ally, the medicine man Taylor. The two groups battle for possession of Carol Anne and supernatural wackiness ensues.
Unlike the original, there is not much to recommend about “Poltergeist 2.” As with the first film, the parents (JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson) are more likable than most horror movie victims, but the sequel follows the original so slavishly it is hard to fear for them. The audience knows everything will be alright, because they’ve seen the same story before.
If the filmmakers had been able to come up with a more original plot, the film could have been a winner. The Reverend Kane is a genuinely creepy villain (mostly because of his freakishly skull-like face) and the special effects are noticeably better than the original, but without a solid script, it doesn’t add up to much. Like so many other aspects of the 80s, “Poltergeist 2” is best forgotten.