Horror remakes are a mixed bag. Some are well received (The Thing, Maniac) and some aren’t. We’re going to be looking, here, at some of the remakes that aren’t so good, in fact, we’re going to be looking at ten of what are arguably the very worst ten horror remakes of all time. So, let’s get on with it…
When Alfred Hitchcock made film history and left behind one of the best films ever made in the original Psycho in 1960, it was expected by most that no one would “go there” in terms of remaking the original. Gus Van Sant had other ideas, casting Anne Heche and Vince Vaughn in a “shot-for-shot” remake of the original classic. No tension, awful cinematography and acting that just felt stunted and phoned in, and with Vaughn, a poor actor at the best of times, taking on the iconic role of Normal Bates that Anthony Perkins made so famous, this was bound to fail, and fail it did. There has not been a more poorly realized and badly executed remake in film history as far as I’m concerned, so this stands at the top of the pile in this list, far and away the very worst remake of all time. Shameful.
The Grudge (2004)
While the original Ju-on: The Grudge, a Japanese horror film, had a sinister and haunting atmosphere and some (at the time) original scares, the remake decided to do the awful thing of “making the same film, but for English-speaking audiences who don’t want to read subtitles”. Setting it in Japan, and with a similar look and tone, the performances were lacking, and it was just so unnecessary, not to mention that the scares just weren’t as effective this time around. A pure cash-in, and a bad one at that, Sarah Michelle Gellar will be signing Buffy DVD’s, and not Grudge ones, rest assured of that.
The Ring 2 (2005)
I am a fan of the Japanese Ringu films, they have an iconic horror character, a wonderfully creepy atmosphere and some really great scenes of horror. Just marvellous. The first remake of Ringu, The Ring, wasn’t great, but it did do a few things right and isn’t the worst film in the world. This, though, the sequel’s remake, is a dire, exasperating, atrocious movie. I’d sooner revisit the hospital than have to sit through this again. Awful.
Night of the Demons (2009)
The 80’s version of Night of the Demons is charming, silly, schlocky and corny. An enjoyable bundle of fun. This one made me nauseous with its annoying characters and obvious attempt to use tits and ass to sell the DVD. Boring, irritating and about as “horror” as a My Little Pony marathon in a glitter factory, it is just pointless hackneyed bullshit. Think I’m being harsh? I spent a tenner on it, money I will never get back, and what makes it worse is that no one will take it off my hands. What a load of tripe.
The Omen (2006)
One of those horror films that should never get remade, the original Omen is a classic 70’s supernatural slice of demonic horror-ness. Why put it through the machine and churn a new version out when the original one is still so good? Well, for some money, I guess. A cast who didn’t seem to care, a script that seemed to be penned by someone who didn’t care, and an audience who cares much, much less, this is at the bottom of the barrel of horror. While the atmosphere wasn’t entirely lacking, everything else was, and it just didn’t need to be done, the main reason I will call it one of the worst remakes. Yawn.
The Wicker Man (2006)
The Wicker Man, the original one, is one of my favourite films of all time. The atmosphere, the music and the overall weirdness of it just charming the heck out of me each time I visit it, like a Satanic warm hug to my insides. This, a 2006 version of the film starring Nic Cage in the detective role, makes me wonder, seriously, whether the creators had even watched the original. Neil LaBute, the director, deserves the eternal glance of apathy he will get from fans of the ’73 original because of how shit this is. The bee scenes are heavy handed, the acting is ridiculous, and it holds none of the subtlety or tone of the original film which made it so good. Christopher Lee has been quoted as saying “well, what a load of bollocks, someone burn the pile of wank”. Well, I made that up, but still… I think he’d agree.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
The original Wes Craven classic made Freddy Kreuger into a horror icon, and cemented the Elm Street films as one of the best and biggest horror franchises of all time. Re-casting Freddy with the very-good-normally Jackie Earle Haley (Little Children) might sound okay on paper, but it just didn’t work, and the remainder of the cast seemed very uncomfortable with the terrible screenplay given to them. Freddy doesn’t work without Robert Englund, just like you couldn’t put Ryan Reynolds in a chubby-suit and put him in a Laurel and Hardy movie as Oliver. It just doesn’t work. Repeat after me, creators of this film… IT… JUST… DOESN’T… WORK!
The Amityville Horror (2005)
The original ’79 Amityville film still scares the pants off me to this day, the scariest film I’ve personally ever seen, the remake, starring a competent cast, was laughable and used cheap scares instead of setting up a tense and creepy atmosphere, something that the original did so well. The only reason I might be afraid watching the remake? Ryan Reynolds’ attempt to look menacing, it looked more like a GQ model testing out a beard for a hipster photo shoot. Too far Ryan, too far. Just bloody awful.
House of Wax (2005)
If I were to use two words to warn people of this film, what would they be? Well, if you’ve seen this terrible film then it’s likely you know where I’m going with this. The two words? Paris. Hilton. Yeah, the heiress and princess of the celebrity sex tape went through a period of time where terribly desperate and short-sighted filmmakers wanted her in their film. This, a remake of a gothic and wonderfully enjoyable 50’s film, is about as shoddy and shitty as a horror remake can get without it going psycho. What a waste of DVD cases and paper and time. Ugh.
Prom Night (2008)
Now, I like Brittany Snow, I think she’s good, and likeable. That’s where the likeability factor of this film begins and ends. A film that is a catastrophe from its opening scenes, and it doesn’t improve until it’s removed from the DVD player and the viewer has washed their eyes with salt water and given themselves a lobotomy. Just a terrible movie in general, made even worse by the fact of it being a remake of a charming, though flawed, slasher from the 80’s with Jamie Lee Curtis. It is one of those films that you’d be forgiven for expecting it might be easy to watch horror fluff, but fun none-the-less, but it isn’t. It’s just bad. Like a melon that looks sweet but turns out to be rancid. Bleurgh.