Poltergeist II: The Other Side should have been left alone. The unsettling nature of Poltergeist kept me from watching further, but not for long. There’s nothing scary about Poltergeist II, because it’s a lot of the same with no clear direction. JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Oliver Robins, and Heather O’Rourke all return as the Freeling family. Sadly Dominique Dunne was the first to be affected by the “curse.” She was tragically murdered by her boyfriend the same year as the first movie. Dana isn’t mentioned, so it’s implied she’s off to college.
Meanwhile Steve, Diane, Robbie, and Carol Anne are staying at their grandmother’s without a TV. Even though they clearly escaped the poltergeist, it continues to chase after Carol Anne. O’Rourke is even better the second time around since she’s no longer missing. It’s just the same old hauntings, stuff moving, and an entity that now travels through a toy phone. The most creative they get is with evil braces and a possession that goes on too long.
Zelda Rubinstein is sparsely around as the little medium, so a stereotypical Indian spirit guide shows the Freelings how to fight the “Beast.” The grandma, Diane, and Carol Anne are all revealed to be clairvoyant, but not much is done with that either. When they finally get to the Other Side, it’s cheesy and very anticlimactic. The only creepy thing in Poltergeist II is the ghost in the form of an elderly preacher. Julian Beck sells the menacing figure before also succumbing to the “curse.” Dying of cancer before the sequel even came out. With Chief himself Will Sampson passing on the year after. Poltergeist II will never be as disturbing as that.