When Sam Rockwell started giving interviews a few weeks ago about the new Poltergeist remake he’s starring in, fans were concerned. First, he said it would be in 3-D, which is always the quickest way to get purists to start complaining that their childhoods are “ruined.” Second, he said this:
The 10-year-old boy is really the protagonist this time. JoBeth Williams was the protagonist for the most part in the first one [she played the mother] and now the kid, it’s really through his point-of-view. So it’s more of a kids’ movie so I don’t know if it’s gonna be like rated-R scary.
To many, this idea was about as disturbing as a creepy clown doll who strangles children. “Wait, the Poltergeist Is a Children’s Movie?” cried Cinema Blend. Io9 called the news “troubling,” and the story made it beyond fan sites and into outlets like the Guardian.
When I spoke to Rockwell about the movie at Sundance, he clarified that the movie was still “very scary, very intense” and the first trailer, which hit the web this afternoon, makes it clear that—though it may show things through the eyes of the children—this is not exactly a family film:
Produced by Sam Raimi (who, the trailer emphasizes, is the same guy who brought us such not-very-family-friendly movies as Evil Dead and the remake of The Grudge), director Gil Kenan’s remake actually looks if anything like it could be too faithful to the Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hooper original. It also seems to be making plenty of use of its PG-13 rating (the original, which helped inspire the creation of the PG-13 rating, was rated PG), complete with the aforementioned killer clown and a drill threatening to go into a young man’s head. (Sure, nobody is tearing apart their own face yet, but you have to hold back something.) The movie will be heeerrreee on July 24.