10 horror movie remakes that don’t totally suck
Sometimes revisiting the classics is a good thing...
Remaking a beloved film property is always fraught with pitfalls. That’s doubly so in the case of the horror genre with its, shall we say, ‘committed’ fanbase.
Not all such horror remakes suck, however. With Evil Dead Rise recently making a decent fist of bringing Sam Raimi’s cult series back to life, we thought we’d pay tribute to some fellow not-totally-awful horror reboots.
UPDATED: With The Exorcist: Believer out now, a requel of sorts to the original Exorcist, we thought we would visit the best horror movie remakes. Those that actually compliment the movie they are remaking or, at least, standalone as a great horror film.
The following reboots and remakes were conceived of for varying reasons, whether to revive a long dormant intellectual property, to bring a high quality foreign film to English markets, or as a virtual fan letter to a beloved old film.
Some of these reboots even turned out to be better than the originals.
Don’t forget to vote for your own favourite horror movie remake below.
1. The Thing (1982)Rent now (Amazon)
It’s easy to forget that 1982’s The Thing was a remake of sorts. For one thing, this is because the original was 1951’s The Thing from Another World – a much older movie with a much busier title. For another, John Carpenter’s masterful sci-fi horror is a very different piece of work, made up of equal parts tense paranoia and gross-out body horror.
2. The Fly (1986)Stream now (Disney Plus)
Much like The Thing, The Fly is an ’80s sci fi horror movie based only very loosely on a 1950s original. David Cronenberg’s reboot stars a fresh-faced Jeff Goldblum as an eccentric scientist dabbling in teleportation technology. When his genes become accidentally spliced with those of a house fly, he starts to transform into something altogether ickier.
3. Dawn of the Dead (2004)Stream now (Netflix)
It’s easy to be a little sniffy about Zach Snyder’s work – goodness knows he’s given us reason to over the years – but his 2004 remake of George Romero’s seminal zombie sequel isn’t half bad. Filled with audacious head-popping action sequences and a vastly ramped up body count, with a much more mobile undead threat, it’s actually a bit of a blast.
4. Halloween (2018)Rent now (Amazon)
Few would have given this reboot of John Carpenter’s 1978 slasher classic a chance in hell of success, but David Gordon Green’s film turned out to be unexpectedly accomplished. Smartly ditching 40 years of ropey sequels, it returns us to the duo at the heart of the original – incarcerated killer Michael Myers (now played by James Jude Courtney), and Jamie Lee Curtis’s PTSD-afflicted survivor, Laurie Strode.
5. It (2017)Rent now (Amazon)
The 2017 It movie may be an adaptation of a 1986 Stephen King novel, but a generation of older Millennials will probably associate the film with a two-part TV miniseries from 1990. This slick movie remake (which also comes in two parts) features a far starrier cast and higher production values than the ABC original. It’s the same creepy story though, in which Bill Skarsgård’s psychotic clown haunts a small town across several decades.
6. The Invisible Man (2020)Stream now (Amazon)
The Invisible Man is technically an updated adaptation of an 1897 H.G. Wells novel, but we’re going to class this 2020 movie version as a remake because of how many times it’s been adapted before. Writer-director Leigh Whannell offers a sharp modern take on the source material, with Elizabeth Moss playing a woman fleeing an abusive relationship with Oliver Jackson-Cohen’s titular creep.
7. Suspiria (2018)Stream now (Prime Video)
This 2018 remake of the 1977 Dario Argento classic, all about a prestigious dance academy run by witches, didn’t attract the critical acclaim of the original. But the remake’s blood-spattered ingredients list is of the very highest quality, from Italian director Luca Guadagnino to stars Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, and Mia Goth. Even the soundtrack has rare pedigree, having been composed by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke.
8. Child's Play (2019)Rent now (Amazon)
Satanic toy Chucky returned for this 2019 reboot of the trashy 1988 original. Mark Hamill voices the possessed toy of the title, who comes into the possession of Aubrey Plaza’s single mum Karen and her hearing-impaired son Andy before embarking on a bloody rampage. The reboot smartly reconfigures this simple, schlocky tale for a more technologically advanced and anti-consumerist age.
9. Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)Stream now (BFI Player)
You’d have to be either brave or peculiar to want to reboot 1922’s Nosferatu, which heavily influenced the entire cinematic vampire mythos. Fortunately, German director Werner Herzog is little of both. His 1979 remake, Nosferatu the Vampyre, casts Klaus Kinski as the famous bald-headed vampire, and serves as both a loving homage to and a smart evolution of F. W. Murnau’s haunting predecessor.
10. Let Me In (2010)Stream now (Amazon Freevee)
Let Me In is a member of that most hated (by purists at least) of groups: the Hollywood remake. This one is actually pretty decent, if inferior to the sublime 2008 Swedish original, Let The Right One In. Kodi Smit-McPhee plays a lonely young boy who befriends a strange young girl, played by Chloë Grace Moretz, who turns out to have an unusual thirst for blood.
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