There was a huge horror movie remake surge that hit the mainstream cinema in the early 2000s. Nothing seemed to be off-limits from iconic films such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) to even the current Childs Play in 2019.
Some are good, some are bad and some are just blasphemous. Take a look at the five films that I believe are some of the worst of the worst and the best of the best remakes of iconic horror films.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
The worst of the worst to come out of the remake craze, A Nightmare on Elm Street, the film follows a similar story of the original with Freddy Krueger (Jack Earle Haley) killing off the kids of the parents who killed him. The film had so much potential, a director that was well known for his music videos, a talented cast, a chance to just go crazy in the dream world; so, what went wrong?
For starters, Jackie Earle Haley did a decent job as Freddy but there can be only one Freddy Krueger, and that’s Robert Englund. Robert brought charisma to the role, while kept it scary. Jackie Earle Haley’s Freddy tried too hard to be scary and became too perverse at times.
Besides that, the rest of the film just lacked; lacked originality, the nightmares felt stale, some cheap scares, and after they kill off Kris (Katie Cassidy), the film makes you want to go to sleep. And Freddy just didn’t seem like Freddy just a cheap imitation of Freddy, something you might see on an episode of Rick and Morty.
What I thought did work was the beginning with Kris, and her story with Freddy targeting her, if we would’ve followed her story instead of Nancy’s (Rooney Mara) the film could’ve stood a better chance. But who knows?
Some horror films are sacred and Halloween is one of them. When it was announced that Halloween was being remade, there was outrage. John Carpenter’s Halloween was a film you just didn’t touch. But when Rob Zombie came on-board, I thought maybe we would get a kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll Michael Myers. Boy was I wrong. What we got was a rough, dirty, and brutalized version of John Carpenter’s classic Halloween.
I’ll give Rob Zombie’s Halloween some credit, the first half of the film is fantastic with young Michael locked away in Smith’s Grove Sanitarium. What’s interesting is that in taking in that direction is that we get to see Michael’s descent into madness. Audiences wanted to see more of Michael’s life in Smith’s Grove, but we didn’t get that.
Instead what we get, after he escapes the sanitarium, is a carbon copy of the original. With a carbon copy plot, unlikable and vile characters, and over brutalized kills. Halloween (2007) failed where the original succeeds, the original is suspenseful and scary without being gory which is what made the original Halloween iconic and made Rob Zombie’s Halloween to be despised by fans.
Maybe that’s why they rebooted it again with Jamie Lee Curtis in 2018.
The Ring (2002)
The beginning of the remakes, and the good ones too. The Ring, based on Ringu, directed by Gore Verbinski is about a cursed video that after watching it, you will die in seven days.
The film is an Americanized version of the film, but appropriately pays respects to the original. This Americanized version follows Rachel Keller, (Naomi Watts), whose niece has just mysteriously died, rumored by a cursed tape that kills you after you watch it. After watching the cursed tape, Rachel is on a race against time to solve the mystery of this cursed tape before it kills her.
Gore Verbinski managed to keep what made Ringu iconic by still having an eerie premise, using haunting imagery but still achieved to make The Ring his own twisted version. Gore Verbinski gave us something new and fresh while honoring the original film. That’s what a good remake does, and that why The Ring is a successful remake.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
How can you not love Dawn of the Dead? Dawn of the Dead (1978) is an iconic film and was at the time an untouchable film. The original film was perfect. Why remake it?
Zack Snyder came out along, proved us all wrong, and gave us an updated classic on this iconic film. This Dawn of the Dead follows a somewhat similar story with a group of survivors of the zombie apocalypse that hold up in a mall.
The film respects and homages the original but updates it for modern audiences. The film still holds up especially since Covid-19, the film relates more now than it did when it was originally released because of the pandemic.
If you’re going to remake Dawn of the Dead and have it be a successful film, you need a few things; top-notch gore effects, great zombie kills, and one hell of an opening sequence. Zack Snyder gave us all of that and so much more.
Zack Snyder lets us live out our fantasy of living life in a mall without rules. Zack Snyder gave us Ving Rhames being a bad-ass. He made zombies scary again and gave us a zombie giving birth. What more could we ask for?
Evil Dead (2013)
Evil Dead is the remake that got it right, the film is a bit of a reboot and in canon with the rest of the films, and that’s why I placed it at the top. It’s the perfect example of how to remake a horror film, respect the mythology the previous films set out but still expand and let it be its own film.
The film plot diverts from the original as the original was about a weekend getaway, Evil Dead (2013) centers around Mia (Jane Levy) who is a heroin addict, and is at a remote cabin holding her own intervention with brother and friends.
The film plays out very similar to the original, and we’re to believe that Mia’s brother, David (Shiloh Fernandez), is our lead similar to how Ash was in the original. Until he is killed by their possessed friend Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) right after David successfully saved Mia from the demon. Leaving Mia, who was possessed for a majority of the film, to become our ‘final’ girl.
Evil Dead (2013) Took everything fans loved about the original and spun it on its head. We no longer had a male survivor; we get an ass-kicking demon-killing ‘final’ girl. We get people cutting into their face with broken glass, severed arms, a gnarly, possessed Mia, and literally the sky raining blood. This Evil Dead is just a real gorefest. It’s what you’re expecting from an Evil Dead film and so much more. Making it one of the more successful remakes of iconic horror films.
Credit goes to director Fede Alvarez, who took this franchise and made it scary again, and it’s a shame that we never got a continuation of this story.
Just like how Hollywood ran out of horror films to remake my ranking has also come to an end. Remakes you’re either going to love them or hate them. A remake can’t ruin the original, it just allows you to respect the original even more. Let’s give it a few years and we will have another resurgence of remakes where making remakes of the remakes.