Over the years, there has been an excess of remakes of classic horror films. The majority of these remakes are nowhere near as good as the original. A lot of them are really unnecessary, and where they are supposed to be an update and an improvement on the original; most of the time they end up being a downgrade.
The most recent example, I can think of is Cabin Fever (2016), which was critically panned worldwide. But there are some horror remakes that are actually pretty good, but these efforts are in a minority, amidst the clutter of really bad ones. Below is my list of a few of the best horror remakes.
The Crazies (2010)
The Crazies is a zombie horror film, which takes place in the fictional town of Ogden Marsh, coined as the “friendliest place on Earth”. The town’s water supply is infected with a strange virus, which over time, deteriorates the mental state of a person and eventually driving them crazy.
This film is an update of George A. Romero’s original and the remake definitely has the upper hand, particularly in terms of actions sequences and special effects. It’s a tense, entertaining, nicely characterised film. It’s a remake that doesn’t disappoint, or in any way tarnish the memory of the original.
Let Me In (2010)
A remake of the Swedish horror, Let The Right One In (2008), Matt Reeves’ Let Me In is about a bullied school boy, who befriends a young girl who just so happens to be an age-old vampire. Apart from different character names and a different setting, the film’s plot is very similar to the original. It stays uncompromisingly true to the Swedish film, even using the same tone and unflinching style.
At the time of the film’s release, many critics argued that it ignored the memory of the Swedish original, but I disagree as it has the exact same tone, darkness and sense of mystery. Whilst definitely one of the best horror remakes I’ve seen, it’s still not quite as good the foreign version. There’s something about the original that’s so unnerving. I’d say it just about edges the quality of the remake.
Funny Games (2007)
Funny Games is the most unconventional horror film on this list. Both chilling and disturbing, some may argue that it’s not even really a horror, but the terrifying premise makes it a horror film in my eyes. Funny Games is a shot-for-shot remake of the 1997 film, which both have the same director.
The film is about a family who are terrorised by two young men, who initially appear as charming and pleasant. Funny Games is actually a social commentary on violence in the media, and the act of observation. A film that is very self-aware, Funny Games is an extremely good remake.
Dawn of The Dead (2004)
Directed by Zack Snyder, Dawn of The Dead is the remake of the classic zombie horror film of the same name. It’s about a handful of human survivors who take shelter in a shopping mall, after a zombie outbreak. Unlike the original, the film depicts the zombies as fast and agile. Although compelling and very entertaining, the film does lack the subtlety and intelligence of the original. It’s still very fun to watch though, especially the very memorable opening sequence.
The Ring (2002)
I have always admired The Ring for favouring dread and terror over visual effects and gore. I saw this film quite a while after it came out and I have since always found it very refreshing, especially when compared to the amount of horror films that purely rely on excessive blood and jump scares.
The Ring is the remake of the Japanese horror film Ring, and it marked the first American remake of a classic Japanese horror. The film follows newspaper reporter and single mother, Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts), as she investigates a mysterious videotape, which allegedly results in one’s death seven days later. An excellent film that is genuinely chilling, and I believe it’s one of the best horror films to have come out in the 21st century so far.
Let me know your thoughts of this list in the comment section!