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A typical family in a quiet suburb of a normal California faces a frightening ordeal when its home is invaded by a Poltergeist. Late one night, 10-year-old Carol Anne Freeling (Heather O'Rourke) hears a voice coming from inside the television set ... At first, the spirits that invade the Freeling's home seem like playful children. But then they turn angry. And when Carol Anne is pulled from this world into another, Steve and Diane Freeling (Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams--In the Land of Women) turn to an exorcist (Zelda Rubinstein) in this horror classic from director Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre films) and producer and screenwriter Steven Spielberg.
Rotten Tomatoes® Score
Critics Consensus: Smartly filmed, tightly scripted, and -- most importantly -- consistently frightening, Poltergeist is a modern horror classic.
The film delivers honest special-effects shocks without forfeiting its good nature.
June 22, 2017
Given the talents, Poltergeist is an annoying film because it could have been so much better.
June 21, 2017
It is consistently redeemed by its creator's dazzling sense of craft.
June 21, 2017
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Common Sense Media
Common Sense Says
One of the all-time great haunted house movies.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Poltergeist 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.
A Lot or A Little?
The parents’ guide to what’s in this movie.
Positive Role Models
More on Common Sense Media
- Genre:Horror, Thriller
- Release Date:June 4, 1982
- Audio Format:5.1
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