Friday, 4 March 2011

Top 10 Horror Remakes


If there is one thing we all hate, it is remakes. Why remake a film that got it right the first time, or else was so bad it didn’t deserve a second chance? Well, I am about to show you why not all remakes are so bad and, in some cases, so of them are actually pretty damn good.

10. THE RING (2002)
Kicking off the J-horror remake trend, Pirate of the Caribbean’s Gore Verbinski delivers a stylish, slick and modern western interpretation of eastern hit, Ringu. Following a mother (played by Naomi Watts) who must solve the mystery of a videotape that causes people to die horrible deaths seven days after viewing, the film is suspenseful and tense, bring a Hollywood attitude to a simple (but brilliant) Japanese film. It owes much to its source while being a fantastic film on its own. For similar American reimaginings of Japanese horror, see The Grudge.


9. THE HILLS HAVE EYES (2006)
Wes Craven’s 1977 film is considered a classic, but it’s hard to argue that it has dated horribly. French filmmaker Alexandre Aja’s retelling stays close to its roots while adding in a modern style and playing up a larger, more deformed mutant clan than the original. Points go for amazing visuals and good acting. The opening montage and nuclear town are highlights.


8. BLACK CHRISTMAS (2006)
I fully expected to hate this film, having seen the trailer and figuring it to be a standard killer-in-the-house flick, but little did I know that was part of its charm. The original film is nothing to write home about, but this one delights in giving you characters you can actually some way care about before putting them in peril at the hands of a killer, whose motives are intriguing. It’s never going to win an award, but the film delivers what it is supposed to. Sit back, chill, and watch the body count rise!


7. THE CRAZIES (2010)
Most people were unfamiliar with George ‘Dawn of the Dead’ Romero’s smaller 1973 film about the military trying to contain a virus outbreak that causes madness in a rural town, but this modern day action flick finally gives it credence. Essentially eliminating the military storyline, this one focuses on a group of people’s attempts to stay alive and not become one of the crazies. Just a purely enjoyable flick, it bares little resemblance to its predecessor.


6. THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (2005)
This entry had critics and audiences divided, but it seems to mainly be because of the choice of Ryan Reynolds as leading man. I have no beef with the guy and think he actually gives a very good job as a husband and stepfather going through a mental breakdown while his family are subjected to terrorising hauntings. Scary and well made, almost a modern day The Shining, this is one remake that blows the (overrated) original away.

5. HALLOWEEN (2007)
Another one to split opinions, Rob Zombie’s take on John Carpenter’s 1978 seminal horror classic about a masked psychopath murdering teenagers focuses more on the killer’s childhood. Some people didn’t like blaming his acts on an abusive childhood (preferring that he is just pure evil), but whether you like it or not, it is well done and a great watch. The film changes completely halfway through, following the original more closely, but the prequel-like first half is what sets this apart. See Malcolm McDowell steal every scene!


4. PIRANHA 3D (2010)
First off, I am a massive Joe Dante fan, but this is another case of the remake outshining the original. Stupid and it knows it, the film is set around prehistoric piranha attacking tourists on spring break, but pulls out all the stops with Jerry O’Connell as a Girls Gone Wild-esque filmmaker, a load of boobs, cult filmmaker Eli Roth playing an annoying character who gets his comeuppance, some of the most outlandish gore this side of Hershell Lewis, and, the cherry on top, Christopher ‘Doc Brown’ Lloyd as an eccentric scientist. Film nights were made for films like this.

3. DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004)
Remaking George A. Romero’s 1978 classic was always going to be risky and had more chance for failure than success, but director Zack Snyder, in his debut feature, took the risk and it paid off big time. With little more than passing references and fanboy nods to the original, this modern take of survivors in a mall during a zombie apocalypse is action packed with zombies that run and aims for mainstream audiences. Though a bit light on character development, this is an example of a remake that is unique and doesn’t desecrate the originals good name. See The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake for similar results.

2. THE THING (1982)
A film so genre-defining it is getting its own remake/prequel, John Carpenter’s take on the alien intruder in the Antarctic is as far from the fun B-movie fare of the original. Bleak, depressing and oodling with atmosphere, this is not a popcorn film. Nightmarish monsters and paranoia among our heroes (which includes the awesome Kurt Russell), the film is now considered a classic, and deservingly so. This is also easily one of the best horror films of the eighties.

1. THE FLY (1986)
I said The Thing was ONE of the best horrors of the eighties. David Cronenberg didn’t just remake the 1958 Vincent Price classic, he reinvented it. Jeff Goldblum stars as an eccentric scientist who begins to transform into a human fly after an accident with a matter transporter (oh, those silly eccentric scientists). Sickening to watch, but impossible to look away from, the film is intelligent and terrifying. The original was in essence a monster movie, but this is all about the horror of an uncontrollable transformation. There are rumours that this remake will be remade, which makes you wonder, when will we leave well enough alone!?

I now have some articles being published with the good folks over at Best For Film.  Articles I post there will make their way here after a few days, but do check out their site. There are some decent articles by writers who are probably better than me!