Common Sense Media says

One of the all-time great haunted house movies.

Users say

(out of 165 reviews)
age 11+
Review this title!
Teen, 15 years old Written byTheSuperman765 April 17, 2011

second to best horror movie ever, frst is insidious and paranormal activity

this movie touches on many things that are frightening to kids (and some adults), including scary shadows in the dark, monsters in the closet, and separation from family. A character rips the flesh from his face (though eventually we see he's hallucinating). A young boy is attacked by a ghost-inhabited tree. A girl is taken from her parents and held in a netherworld where she's menaced by a character it's intimated is evil. The parents are seen smoking marijuana, and are apparently regular users.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 12 years old March 7, 2010

Ok

People say this is "scary" but in my opinion, not at all. sure maybe for younger kids, but to tell u the truth, it really isnt. most special affects r cheesy, but i hav 2 say its an inbetween ok & pretty good movie.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bywonder dove July 5, 2013

I get chills every time I watch it!!!

Best horror movie ever created! This movie is insanely good! It's fun, scary and super entertaining...never a dull moment. The effects were done really well for the 80's and the whole atmosphere of the film is really dark and eerie, which really sets the mood for a good time! Characters are likable - the parents are very protective and loving to their children. When strange things start happening around the house, little Carol Ann can hear voices coming from the TV set whom she calls "the TV people". The mother soon learns that there is some paranormal activity going on and convinces her husband that something's not right. One stormy night, when their son is taken by a possessed tree outside his bedroom window, they scram to save him while little Carol Ann is left alone in her bed when evil forces try to "get" her. She ends up missing and the family soon discovers that the poltergeists have taken her. With the help of some experts, they must all try to figure out how to get her back in one piece. Lots and lots of action, scariness and it's even a little sad & heartwarming in a spiritual sense. Some say the film is cursed because the two kid actors (Carol Ann and her big sister) died in real life after the movie was made, and strange things happened to Stephen Spielberg while filming the movie! Violence is extreme for a PG (should be PG-13 now) with scary monstrous creatures, objects moving & flying violently, people including children being terrorized, a clown attack, tree attacks a child, man rips his face off, frightening hallucinations. Language is very mild. Sexual content has grown men flirting with a teenager by whistling at her and other brief comments. Drug use includes one scene, pot is rolled and smoked by the parents (not too graphic). Okay for 14+ viewers. Fun fact: Did you know the skeletons used in this movie are real? :O
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Parent Written bySinfoniarc October 22, 2010

A Classic Mild 80s Horror Film

I'll confess that this movie scared me to death as a kid (I'm 30 years old if that helps). This movie didn't even phase my 6 and 9 year old. Having said that, some kids are more sensitive to scary images than others. The technology used to make this film is low by comparison of what we see today, so your kids will likely find this movie a little bit cheesy. There is ONE scene in the bedroom in which the parents are smoking dope and then quickly straighten up to attend to one of the kids who is scared of a thunderstorm. But unless your kids are wise to that, they won't even know what it is or really even notice it. As far as language goes, it's an 80s PG movie in which the language standards were different than what they are today. You'll hear s--- and a--- and a few others (no f-bombs are dropped). The parents demonstrate good parenting skills in not leaving anybody behind, sticking together as a family when faced with adversity, and their undying devotion to get their youngest daughter back. Is the movie violent? No. Are there some scenes that will scare some young children? Yes. Watch it first and then you decide.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old March 8, 2010

ok movie but brillent acting by Heather

This movie was ok but not really all that scary im not sure y common sense gave this 5 stars. But Heather o' Rorke definetly deserved 5 stars for her brilient acting. Heather is the girl on the cover she was born in 1975 and died in 1988 when she was 12 due to her intestintes exploding and being very sick. The movie was ok overall especailly for the time it was made in. And again great acting heather! We all miss u!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent Written bymyab October 27, 2010

More PG-13 Than PG, Scary For Most Young Teens, But Still Good Messages

I'd say this movie is more PG-13 than PG. There is true scary violence (done by unseen forces, not person to person), including scenes where braces wrap around a child's face, a tree tries to eat a child, and everyone involved is put in some sort of emanate physical danger. While the special effects were done in the 80's, and some scenes aren't as realistic as they would be today, they are still cringe and sometimes scream inducing. However, the good messages conveyed throughout the movie are solid holding points. The parents don't leave any of their children behind, and in fact go to great lengths to protect and rescue them. The children rely on their parents, and the family works as a cohesive unit to survive the situation they are in. Ultimately, I'd say most mature 13 yr olds can handle this movie, with parental guidance. Any younger is much too iffy.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 8 and 11 year old Written byAZmamaof2 May 8, 2010

OK for older kids, but not for kids under 10

When we rented this movie we hadn't seen it in a long time. When we saw it was only rated PG we thought it would be OK for our 8 year old. Maybe she is too sensitive but she didn't handle it very well towards the end & we had to shut it off. Our 10 year old was OK with it but she is more of a scary movie buff than our 8 year old. What we didn't like: Parents smoking marijuana. Skeletons in the muddy pool when the father was looking for his child in the backyard. The soundtrack at times was a bit overpowering (I think this might have contributed to my youngest child's breaking point). The gory scene when a man rips the flesh from his face revealing chunks of gore (while he's hallucinating) What we liked: The parents are loving & they brought in experts to help them. The chair scooting across the kitchen floor. The father counting seconds between lighting flashes with his son during a storm at night. The mother found her daughter & brought her back.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models
Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written byYBNormal January 7, 2009
Teen, 13 years old Written byMOVIE13 August 23, 2010

COMEDY V.S HORROR

this movie isnt scary or good..... it's a joke a comedy mostly and a pritty bad one at that!!! Like in one of the last the girls standing outside the car screaming what happeing?1 and everyone else is just saying just get in the car! but she just kept screaming whats happening?! That made me laugh really hard and as i was laughing i was thinking why dont you just shut up and get in the car. Also in another scene and woman screams and goes flying up in the air revealing her undewear! and that scene was supposed to be scary? give me a break. This makes a pritty bad comedy and a horrible horror movie...
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written byDuckCommander13 June 16, 2015

Excellent 80's Movie

Poltergeist is an excellent movie for older kids to transition into horror films like The Conjuring. There is a bit of mild language including 7 uses of s***, 4 uses of d***, 1 use of a**, 3 uses of son of a b****, 1 use of b******, 4 uses of h***, and 1 middle finger. The parents are seen smoking weed but it's not encouraged , there is also some beer drinking, but again is not encouraged. There is no sex in this movie. The violence is a little bit gory when a man imagines himself ripping of his face and blood is shone. A clown doll attacks Robbie and a tree tries to swallow him during a tornado. There are no deaths in the movie. Pizza Hut is mentioned. This film was made in 1982, 3 years before the PG-13 rating came out, and this was rated PG, nowadays it would be rated PG-13, but is still fine for kids ages 10 and up
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bytommysportsgirl April 9, 2008

gross and boring

This movie is just dull. It lacks any good scares at all and is too predictable.
Parent Written byIndigoVA October 31, 2015

Great movie for tweens

Modern parents should know that this movie was originally rated R when it was released. The current PG rating was granted on appeal, and I feel like it's closer to a PG-13. It is scary, but there is really no blood or gore. The special effects are pretty bad by current standards, which kind of takes away from the fright factor, however it is still psychologically very scary.
Kid, 8 years old April 19, 2015

Great, exciting horror flick is fun for teens violent and scary for kids.

My rating:PG-13 for violence throughout,terror,racy material,and language.
Kid, 12 years old January 25, 2015

15A

Contains intense bloody horror and strong psychological violence.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 12 years old December 12, 2011

Poltergeist 101

My mom said I couldn't watch this because of violence/creepy stuff. I am pretty much allowed to watch anything violent, but she put her foot down for this one, so it must have some pretty bad stuff in it!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 12 years old October 31, 2010

O.K. for tweens

not really violent, just scary, really scary, alright I'm a wimp
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Teen, 16 years old Written byarchermatt98 November 16, 2009

A great movie!!!

This is a great movie. The only scary part is with the clown. I was 10 when I saw it, and was only scared for one night.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byPoefan October 14, 2009

Great horror film!

An awesome ghost movie that is very intense and contains one particularly gruesome scene.Do not be fooled by the PG rating, it's not for kids. Also, there is a scene of drug use. Unlike today's horror films, this movie does not rely on cheap scares to keep the audience interested, it is a genuinely scary movie. However, this movie is awesome and everyone should watch this great movie.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byMichael Fraraccio October 15, 2013

"We just want you to find our little girl."

One of the big events of my childhood was seeing Poltergeist for the first time at 7 years old. I saw it on a 4:3 set on a very old DVD in my parents' bedroom, after my mom had recently come home from the hospital after surgery. One night, my dad came home from the library with some DVDs, and one of them was Poltergeist. I popped it into the DVD player without hesitation as I'd wanted to see it since I was 5. I knew from the moment it started, Poltergeist was going to be a great movie, but little did I know it would become my favorite movie of all time, and I'd want to experience it again and again. Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams star in this classic as Steve and Diane Freeling, who live with their three children, 16-year-old Dana (Dominique Dunne), 8-year-old Robbie (Oliver Robins), and 5-year-old Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke) in Cuesta Verde, CA, soon learn that their home is haunted, and also that the spirits talk to Carol Anne through their television. Everything seems normal at first. Dana gives construction workers the finger and talks on the phone later than she's supposed to, Robbie is a huge Star Wars fan, and Carol Anne feeds her goldfish an entire tube of food. One night, a tree tries to eat Robbie, but they quickly save him. When the ghosts kidnap Carol Anne through the closet, they are forced to fight the evil spirit that holds their daughter if they ever want to see her again. Well-acted, well-written, and well-directed, with great special effects, Poltergeist is the greatest ghost story put on film. Let's start with the acting. The performances are top-notch. The way lines are said, the facial expressions, body language, everything about the characters feels real. Craig T. Nelson plays Steve, a husband and father who's willing to do anything to save his family, so realistically, nothing about it feels fake. JoBeth Williams plays Diane, a distraught mother, so realistically, you'll believe what's happening on screen is hurting her. Heather O'Rourke gives the best performance by a 5-year-old ever. Zelda Rubinstein is also great. It doesn't even seem like they're acting. The special effects still hold up, because they still look real. The plot is still very original, because it's set in modern suburban America, and it's about a normal family that loves each other, rather than an abusive husband and father. Poltergeist is so well-written that nobody has to die, nor does it have to be gory to keep us on the edge of our seats. Spielberg and Hooper keep it subtle by hardly showing the ghosts. Poltergeist features a great plot, great acting, great directing, and great writing. I can't recommend Poltergeist enough. Poltergeist is a kid's movie, so it's not all that scary, though there are scenes that may scare you or creep you out, but you won't be scarred for life. In the end it really is a fun thrill ride. Poltergeist is a movie every kid must see by the time they're 8 years old. For some reason, I find myself trying, sometimes unsuccessfully, to hold back tears every time I see it. Poltergeist is my favorite movie of all time, it is a timeless classic, and it still holds up after over 30 years because it remains a thrilling, touching, and heartwarming movie experience. Poltergeist tells the story of a family nothing can tear apart. It's a classic good versus evil story, a story of perseverance in spite of your worst fears coming to light, and holding it together in spite of everything seeming to fall apart. It's about never giving up hope. When I watched Craig T. Nelson, I saw my dad on that screen, and I see him on that screen even more now. When I watched JoBeth Williams, I saw my mom on that screen, and I see her on that screen even more now. I know you're probably worried because of things you've read online about it being scary, gory, or boring, but don't be. Gory? Never. Scary? Not at all. Boring? Don't make me laugh. Despite everything that happens, there's a hopefulness that stays the entire movie, and honestly, I think that's what keeps us coming back. Let your kids see it. They'll thank you.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written bywrgtyp September 25, 2011

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrate movie

It's realy not that bad and thats from someone who once a year get scared out of his mind by halloween magizens. the scene where a guy rippes off his face is scary while it happening but the guys seeing things. the "scary tree" that trys to eat a kid dies after 1 minute so who cares. but the movie does play off of the fear of clowns because there is a clown doll in the backround acting all not alive and stuff whith its big gross teeth untill it trys to kill the boy under his bed. this is the funnyest scene in the hole movie because the boy then screems "i hate you" and rippes out the things stuffing. theres one middle finger and lots of dead bobys being thrown out of the ground. a guy says son of a b*tch so much it gets boring. but overall it rocks.

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