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When I first got the run-down on this film, it came in the form of the following sentence: "That Saw guy Wan is making Poltergeist". I sat down to the film when it came out on online rental, watching it on my iPad while pretending to work at a dead-end office job. In short, the most horror-dampening environment possible. Expecting the sort of flick Wan has been doing, I thought it would be funny. I was wrong. I have never been so terrified in a fluorescent-lamp lit room in my life. And it took a solid month to stop being just a little bit scared when it was quiet in my apartment. That's some quality scare power.
The subtlety of this film's horror is really what draws in the scares. The age-old jump scare appears, of course, but it's the sort of odd nothingness that really gets one's metaphorical pants wet. For large parts of the movie, the scary things are so subtle that even the characters seem to need a few seconds to catch on and react. It's a sort of tempo that keeps the viewer on edge and the influence of the Paranormal Activity writers shows in it. I suppose what really shows through in all the elements is the over-arching sense of uneasiness. It's like the principles of 'nothing is scarier' are mixed with just enough 'there is something there' to make the sum greater than the parts.
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