Firstly, the film did not need to be made. The original film is still a great scare-fest to this day and stands up well when compared to its modern day contemporaries. This redo is essentially a vanity project for its makers and nothing more.
Secondly, the film isn't really sure what it is. Is it a retelling of the story? Is it a modernisation of the story? Is it a kind of sequel? Is it an abrupt collection of all the best bits from the original quickly drafter together with more modern effects and rammed into a rather dull, predictable and essentially soulless redo of these scenes? Personally, I think the last one there hits the nail on the head.
The plot is altered, which I have no problem with except that it adds a few holes into the hows and whys of the haunting. My main issue, however, is that the film just seemed to be jumping from famous, iconic scene to famous, iconic scene without so much as a plot or a character development. And as adorable as little Madison (Kennedi Clements) is and as convincing as she is in her role, the delivery of the best line of the film "They're here" just doesn't quite pack the oomph of the original. By far the best acting comes from little Griffin (Kyle Catlett) who manages to keep the plot going.
I did like the Carrigan Burke character (Jared Harris) who replaces the Tangina character from the original. I admit I had my misgivings about changing the medium character so much, but he brought a much needed sense of banter to the cast.
Also, some of the new effects are indeed fantastic. The television scene is really quite chilling and the glimpse into the other side was really well realised. However, remaking a whole film just to show off your updated effects seems a bit tired to me. Give us something new!
All in all, if you haven't seen the original you may enjoy this film. But to me it was just an unnecessary rehash with more jump scares added and a much less frightening clown doll scene.
[Image: Ghost House Productions, et al]