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'Poltergeist' reboot trailer scares up old fears, adds smartphones

Angry spirits! Evil clown doll! This reboot of the '80s horror classic keeps the creepy moments we remember, plus a few high-tech upgrades. This time, communicate with the dead using an HDTV.

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Another reason we shouldn't sit too close to our TV sets. Screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Just when you thought it was safe to buy a home in suburbia and plop down in your home entertainment room, a trailer for the "Poltergeist" reboot reminds you why you shouldn't get too close to TV screens. Plenty of elements from the original 1982 horror blockbuster have returned to haunt a new generation of moviegoers.

The new trailer, which debuted this week from Fox and MGM, gives fans many moments similar to the '80s classic, including the possessed clown doll, child-eating trees, and even the TV that continues to act as the spirit world's main choice for communicating.

The modern adaptation may mirror the storyline of the original movie, but it takes a few liberties by showing the ghostly invaders tormenting the living by manipulating not just the big-screen HDTV, but smartphones too.

"The original film commented on how we've let television get out of control, babysitting our kids," producer Sam Raimi ("Evil Dead") told USA Today. "It's only gotten worse with the handheld portable devices. Screens are everywhere."

Actors Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie DeWitt play Mr. and Mrs. Bowens -- parents who are at their wits end trying to fight an unseen force to get back their abducted daughter Madison (Kennedi Clements).

The little girl has disappeared into a ghostly netherworld after she and her brother Griffin (Kyle Catlett) discover they're not alone. With help from a clairvoyant played by Jared Harris, the Bowens band together to fight for the safe return of their daughter.

Directed by Gil Kenan ("Monster House"), "Poltergeist" is written by Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist David Lindsay-Abaire.

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"Poltergeist" proves yet again that all clown dolls are evil. Twentieth Century Fox

If "Poltergeist" is as good as its trailer, horror fans can expect all the jumpy scares and eerie atmosphere from the original, but with a few unsuspecting surprises. The movie hits theaters in 3D on July 24 in the US and on July 31 in the UK.

If the movie isn't creepy enough, Twentieth Century Fox and MGM have joined forces with DiedinHouse.com to encourage fans to learn if their own homes have a violent past. The site searches public records to discover if a death occurred on the premises. Use the promo code POLTERGEIST from the end of the trailer to find out the history of your home for free. Though keep in mind, just because your home might have a few skeletons in the closet doesn't mean it's haunted.