Poltergeist 3

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Poltergeist 3 Movie Poster Image
Cheesy sequel has some suspense, supernatural violence.
  • PG-13
  • 2003
  • 98 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

General good vs evil themes, but there aren't major takaways. Some typical horror movie consequences -- like when teens who steal beer get attacked by a demon.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Carol Anne struggles with her past but tries to recover. Her family tries to help her fight the demons.


While not as gory as other horror films, there are suspenseful moments. Characters are grabbed by monster/demon hands, pulled into mirrors, pulled down into holes filled with water that emerge out of parking garages, and thrown around elevators. A character dies by falling into an elevator shaft. A demon hand throws a coffee mug at a mirror, shattering the mirror. Characters emerge from a rotting corpse. Cars and hanging meat in a deli become possessed. There is also a scene early in the film where Carol Anne is verbally bullied by other kids at school, sarcastically asked if she had seen any ghosts lately and characters sarcastically say "Boo!" at her.


Teenagers kiss and flirt.


Occasional profanity includes "hell," "a--hole," "damn," "Goddamn," "pissing," "s--t," "son of a bitch," and "crap." A teen character gives another teen character the middle finger gesture.


After two teenagers sneak into a closed store to steal snacks and beer, they emerge with clearly marked cans of Coca-Cola Classic and Coors beer.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink at a cocktail party, but don't act intoxicated. A teenage boy convinces a teenage girl to help him sneak into a grocery store to steal beer. They emerge with the beer, but don't get a chance to drink it.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9-year-old Written byray b. March 3, 2018


This movie is all right and a little bit disappointing but scary for Halloween!
Parent Written byHanna Hilton May 6, 2016


This film is very good!
I think parents should know it has nothing of sex,, but many bad words
Kid, 12 years old January 25, 2015


Contains disturbing scenes, moderate horror, sustained threat and supernatural violence.
Kid, 9 years old March 4, 2018


It’s bad don’t watch the second was at better.

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?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love scary stuff

Themes & Topics

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