As proven by Friday's release of the new Carrie remake, the film industry is still recycling old ideas with limited creative success.
With stinkers releasing left and right, it’s no surprise that Hollywood has moved to resurrect many of these classic franchises and blockbusters rather than take a risk releasing something unproven. Often times these remakes do little more than tarnish the good name of the series, but on occasion, something of quality will come out of it. With that in mind, we’ve hammered out a list of some of the better examples…
Here are 11 horror remakes that maybe didn’t all surpass their predecessors, but at the very least managed to keep the franchise respectable…
11. The Ring (2002)
For the most part, we can consider most of the American remakes of Japanese horror films garbage. There’s something about the Americanization and sanitization of raw, lingering horror that loses much of what made the source material scary. However, The Ring did an excellent job of conveying otherworldly terrors with the mysterious video tape, hallucinatory imagery, and tense atmosphere. Gore Verbinski’s vision of Ringu was every bit as spine-tingling as the original, with Naomi Watts delivering an electric performance and Amber Tamblyn giving us the most horrifyingly distorted face we’ve seen in ages. It’s great stormy weather viewing, especially if you happen to be watching on a VCR.
10. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
It’s funny how some of the best remakes spawned from movies in the ’50s and ’60s, and while the originals were iconic in their own ways, the remakes are often worlds better. Take the 1978 treatment of Invasion of the Body Snatchers with Donald Sutherland, Leonard Nimoy, and Jeff Goldblum. It took the original 1956 film and enhanced it in ways that the first adaptation of Jack Finney’s novel could never have imagined. Releasing to mostly positive critical reviews and delighted audiences, it’s widely regarded as one of the best film remakes ever made. If you can’t appreciate it, you might very well be a pod person.
9. Maniac (2012)
Elijah Wood showed off just how creepy he could be back in Sin City as a perpetually grinning serial killer, which shed new light on the previously lovable actor. Seriously, it was pretty messed up. Seeing Elijah take on a new role as a killer obsessed with mannequins and female scalps was just like watching Sin City again for the first time. The unique POV shots and psychological twist on the 1980 slasher flick lend an eerie, almost dreamlike feel, and though the original movie was chock-full of deliciously depraved moments, this modern redux is rife with its own special moments that you’ll never forget.
8. The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
Body horror is an important area in genre because it’s not too far from the realm of possibility for humans to find themselves horribly mangled or disfigured beyond recognition. 2006′s The Hills Have Eyes presented more believable, gruesome mutants than the 1977 Wes Craven vision, as well as some equally disturbing content for audiences to squirm in their seats over, especially some horrific happenings and violence against women, which is as harrowing as it is grotesque.
7. Let Me In (2010)
Let The Right One In was terrifying on its own, but it took this English-language adaptation and the talents of precocious (pre-Carrie) Chloë Grace Moretz to give it a more human spin, making it surprisingly heartbreaking and poignant. It’s hard to forget you’re watching a vampire movie while the story plays out, but it’s mesmerizing and even a little sweet to watch Abby and Owen slowly warm to each other, since it’s actually a dark romance at heart. You’ll cringe at the cruelty in certain sections, but you’ll cheer for the young vamp and the man who helps care for her as the film progresses.
6. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Zack Snyder’s take on the iconic zombie-fest was successful in several ways, but mainly because it took a classic story and revamped it with modern tropes. Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead was loud, frenetic, and dirty, while Romero’s original was more deliberate in its pacing. Rather than changing things up completely, it acted as an intriguing companion to the original film, the “yang” to the “yin” of Romero’s critically-acclaimed saga of the undead.
5. Evil Dead (2013)
Sam Raimi’s legendary horror flick isn’t an easy act to follow, so Fede Alvarez had his work cut out for him. Perhaps that’s why they went the route they did, which was to actually make a sequel disguised as a remake, but we’re gonna count anyway considering that’s how it was marketed. The choice to go with a female lead rather than trying to recast the role of Ash was a bold one. This time following a teen named Mia who seems to have been struggling with addiction for quite some time. It starts a little slow, but it culminates in some gratifying, gory sequences that the original could only have dreamt of with their shoestring budget, and a spectacular “red rain” bit at the end that had audiences captivated.
4. Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007)
In 2007, Rob Zombie treated us to his gritty reboot of the Halloween franchise. Though it follows the formula from John Carpenter’s original film closely, we get to delve deeper into series villain Michael Myers’ origins as we see how he started down the path to becoming the William Shatner-masked slasher we all remember him as. Zombie did some masterful things with the massacres in this film, and though it wasn’t particularly well-liked by critics, it was a raucous good time.
3. I Spit On Your Grave (2010)
This tale of revenge is about as gruesome as it gets, following a woman who is sexually assaulted by thugs with nothing better to do. While it modernizes things considerably, the root of what makes it a riveting movie isn’t altered. This is a woman who is driven to make things right when she can’t count on the law to do so. You’ll cringe, but you’ll probably also cheer as the men receive their gnarly comeuppances, which border on Saw-level creativity.
2. The Fly (1986)
The Fly is what happens when you let David Cronenberg direct a tale where a man becomes a monster after a horrific lab accident. Jeff Goldblum stars as the brilliant physicist Seth Brundle, who builds a teleportation device that inadvertently causes him to become merged on a genetic level with a common house fly. This time around however, we crank the special effects and gore up to ’80s standards. No longer do we see the immediate results of the original where his head and hand are swapped, but rather we watch as he slowly and painfully loses more and more of himself in a gradual progression from man to Brundle-fly. It makes for a chilling watch, especially as love interest Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) finds herself pregnant by Brundle and haunted by thoughts of human-fly hybrid offspring.
1. The Thing (1982)
Antarctica is cold and isolated. Try finding yourself trapped there for months at a time. Then, consider that one or more of the members of your camp may be an alien imitating your species, looking to spread its kind across the world. All this makes for a high tension, paranoia-fueled thrill ride. Directed by John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russell, this take on John W. Campbell’s novella Who Goes There? not only follow the source material much closer than 1951′s The Thing From Another World, but also delivers some of the most amazing practical effects and creature designs in horror history.
Dreamworks Pictures, United Artists, Canal+,Dune Entertainment,
Hammer Films, Strike Entertainment, Ghost House Pictures,
The Weinstein Company, CineTel Films, Brooksfilms, David Foster Productions