Let me paint a situation. You’re doing your daily doomscroll, already not in a great mood, and find out that your favorite movie of all time is getting a remake. It has a larger budget, but they’re butchering the script and they’re putting Michael Bay behind the camera. Oh, and the meaningful ending that has that one quote which you have hanging in your office? They’re completely changing it and your favorite character is dying for dramatic effect.
This is what it feels like every other week in the horror community. Currently, we have a remake of The Exorcist on the way, which is a horror film that I never thought someone would have the gall to touch. Yes, it’s a ‘reboot sequel’ technically, but it seems like it’s going to take the same stride as Top Gun: Maverick: a ‘requel’. A sequel with the exact same plot as its predecessor. Top Gun: Maverick did it perfectly. They never do it quite right for horror movies–Evil Dead II is an exception.
This got me thinking, however. There are so many films that never should have been remade, but there are some so abhorrent that I would much rather them be wiped from my mind than have to watch them again. Extreme? Yes. Necessary? Oh, yeah. Here are a few of these remakes. Plot points will be discussed in detail; therefore, a spoiler warning is in order.
Pet Sematary (2019)
Oh boy. We’re starting off with something that had so much potential but fell short by way more than it should have. Stephen King novels usually get adapted time and time again. There’s a reason for that: they’re usually emotionally rough stories with depth and meaning. Pet Sematary remains one of his most tragic stories. Instead of sticking with the original storyline, they decided they would make it ‘less tragic’ by having the older sister die instead of Gage. Eh hem, children are still dying.
This was obviously a budget and time decision as Gage is a very demanding role to cast for someone that age, however, the original 1989 adaptation did it perfectly with its casting, so why change it? This film didn’t add anything to the original, was less faithful to the source material, and completely ruined the character of Jud and the context of his character–his wife’s subplot is a very important component of the original story. This one is not even worth the attempt to watch, and the 1989 adaptation is a fantastic horror film anyways.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
Remember kids, just because you can use CGI doesn’t mean it will improve it. The 1984 A Nightmare on Elm Street has revolutionary special effects with their rotating room being the most notable. Not to mention, the practical makeup on Robert Englund makes Freddy Krueger tangible–like you can almost feel every gross bump on his body. The 2010 A Nightmare on Elm Street intended to modernize this concept. However, it didn’t hit the mark. In fact, it blew right past it and went right into the dumpster.
The special effects in this film look so fake and there was no attempt for anything practical that all of the scares and that attack of the senses the original created are absent. The most disappointing part about it all is Freddy’s face. The motion tracking is terrible–he looks like a mediocre hologram the whole time. They probably would’ve saved some money and some time if they blended in with practical effects, but even then, the source material shouldn’t have been touched for a full-blown remake.
I will never forgive, and I still want to forget. This film is atrocious and almost shouldn’t even be considered a remake. It is so distant from its source material that half the time, I felt like I was watching a completely different movie than what it claims to be–which is easy given that the names are completely different. Even then, the movie is still terrible. The original Poltergeist really has the Spielberg touch. The family takes the forefront; horror is in the background. This film has got it all twisted.
A distinct scene in this film almost made me turn it off the first time. I wish I had, honestly. The notable scene when the mother of the original goes to fetch Carol Anne. Their other children are not in the house with them, and it is the parents taking the responsibility to fetch her, working as a team and accepting the dangers as they come. The remake the parents instead send their incredibly young son to go retrieve their daughter. I know plenty of parents–no one in their right mind would task such a dangerous and major responsibility to their other child. This scene killed any essence of the original the remake had left and had me wishing for it to be wiped from the face of the planet.
The Fog (2006)
I consider the original to be one of John Carpenter’s unsung heroes. The Fog has been forgotten because this remake occurred–and it’s bad. A usual fatal flaw of horror remakes is too much backstory (I’m looking at you, Rob Zombie). This remake is the epitome of the backstory ruining the horror. Sure, there isn’t much background to why the events in the original happen, but it knows what it is. The original keeps up the pace and crafts an interesting story without getting into the nitty gritty details.
This film has all of these moving pieces that never connect to each other, and while it has visually grisly deaths, there is absolutely no buildup of suspense present in the film. Without this buildup, there is no way for this film to actually deliver scares. Therefore, it is a bloated, slow, boring watch that delivers absolutely nothing. It’s a snoozer and one of the worst critically received movies of all time.
This one is one of the most notorious out there. The original Martyrs is a disturbing feat of cinema; something that you never want to endure again. However, whenever there is a foreign horror film out there that is garnering praise, the US cinema companies must remake it. This one, however, left a poor taste in everyone’s mouth. The original French film is one of the most difficult films to watch out there, but its criticisms of Roman Catholicism and the idea of sainthood achieved through torment leaves it a rich analysis piece that is rewarding and will stick with you.
However, its remake tried for the box office success rather than the story and was trying to feed off the success of the torture porn renaissance that occurred in the early to mid 2000s. Jason Blum himself hates that Blumhouse remade this movie. All of the violence and gore that was once meaningful in the original is mindless and unnecessary. The ambiguity and weight of the film’s ending is also missing. This horrendous remake reduced it all to just torture for torture’s sake. It is deplorable.
I feel like going over five of these films will drive the point home. Horror remakes are usually bad. Horror ‘requels,’ though rarely done, usually follow the same pattern. Reboots are a different story, which we will talk about another time. I have mixed feelings on reboots, but I do not need to categorize them with these dumpster fires. All of these remakes are genuinely films I would never touch again. Is there a remake out there that’s redeemable? What would that be? Let me know in the comments.
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