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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Poltergeist 3 is not as gory as many horror films, but has its fair share of demons, rotting corpses, and screaming. It has little to do with the previous movies, with only the little girl Carol Anne, and the psychic Tangina remaining as from the original and best Poltergeist movie. Overall, with the hilariously tacky dialogue and dated '80s fashion and special effects, Poltergeist 3 isn't so much scary as amusingly awful.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Carol Anne, the little girl character from the original Poltergeist who delivered the film's iconic line "They're heeeere...," has moved to Chicago at the behest of her parents, where she stays with her Aunt Pat (Nancy Allen), her Uncle Bruce (Tom Skerritt), and their teenage daughter Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle). Carol Anne now attends a school for gifted children with emotional problems, where the school psychologist is convinced that Carol Anne's sightings of demons and the havoc they wreaked back in California was the result of mass hypnosis. While Carol Anne hopes that she has left the wicked Reverend Kane in the past, as it turns out, he has followed her to Chicago, and still wants to get revenge for his grave being disturbed. It is up to Pat and Bruce, with the assistance of the psychic Tangina, to rescue Carol Anne from Kane's clutches, and to also rescue Donna and her boyfriend Scott, who have also been abducted by the wicked demon.
Is it any good?
With the right attitude and low expectations, POLTERGEIST 3 can be an enjoyable experience of so-bad-it's-good proportions. The dialogue is hilariously bad (especially between Tom Skeritt and Nancy Allen's characters as they have their trials and tribulations with the demons), the special effects are almost as dated as Lara Flynn Boyle's hairstyle, and the plot is beyond ludicrous, even for a B-movie horror flick. While there are some instances of corpses and demon abduction, Poltergeist 3 tries to mine as much horror out of mirrors as possible.
Poltergeist 3 really should not have been made, but seeing how it was the '80s and all trilogies from successful first films must run their course, alas, it was made. Unintentionally, the laughs outnumber the scares. If you're looking for a cheesy horror movie for Halloween, Poltergeist 3 just might be what you're looking for. Just don't have high hopes, and you'll be fine.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about sequels. Why do you think sequels like these are made, when obviously the vast majority of the cast and crew from the original film had no interest in being a part of it?
What similarities and differences do you see between this and the other Poltergeist films?
What makes a good horror movie? Is it scarier to see a monster or to imagine it?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.