*** This review may contain telephone call to the dead spoilers ***
Having a taste for Carol Anne's life force the evil cult leader and his victims want their spirits freed.
Made in a time when sequels were usually cheap cash ins and one if any of the original cast would return, Poltergeist II production values are welcomely high, with the majority of the main cast returning. The only family member absent from the film is Dana, (sadly actress Dominique Dunne was murdered in real life) the reason for her character's absence however is never explained.
The late director Brian Gibson's Poltergeist instalment is more interesting when JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson reprising their roles as Dianne and Steve are acting the hell out of it or when creepy Kane played eerily by the brilliant late Julian Beck is on screen with the visual effects, floating chainsaws, possession and heroic spell castings taking a backseat.
The special effects are nearly 30 years old and while some don't hold up they're still pretty effective for the narrative. That said, the practical effects are outstanding, notably a vomit monster scene where Kane comes out from Steve (Nelson) and begins to take form like something from The Thing or Hellraiser. There are some touching moments in the first half with the death of the Grandma but also oddities especially after she dies, they seem to get over the death quickly and the formalities involved, like arranging a funeral never happen.
Writers Michael Grais and Mark Victor give a solid cult back story and the ghoulish Kane is more scary than some of the effects setups whether its wire braces attacking the family or desert scenes which could rival The Exorcist Heretic bizarreness. The late Will Sampson who plays Taylor the medicine man is notable. There's comedy littered throughout and many creepy moments, ghost telephone calls, ghouls in mirrors, head tuning dolls, evil tequila worms, zombies and skeletons bursting out from nowhere which add to its appeal.
While it does expand the mythology it's not a touch on the first, but to Gibson's credit part two is all aboveboard in a time when sequels weren't very good.