20 June 2016

Horror movie remakes have been a topic of debate since the first one was ever released. Horror fanatics across the world will either argue, "they're ruining classics", "they'll never be as good as the original", and so on - While others have argued "these remakes are introducing our classic horror icons to new generations, it's a good thing!" - No side of the argument is right, and neither is wrong. Like most things humans tend to debate about. 
Allow me to introduce myself as an opinionated prick, a hater of horror movie remakes, but as you'll soon learn, they aren't all bad, and it took me years to figure that out.

I'll start this list by taking you back to 1972, where every boundary there was in cinema, began to stretch.

1.

In 1972, the original film shook viewers across the world. It was unlike anything ever seen before, with brutal murder, rape, and for the time over-the-top gore. It was an open door for similar films, movies that pushed the limits, created by some of the most twisted minds of all time (the Texas Chainsaw Massacre). These cinematic masterminds pushed and broke through any barrier thrown their way. However, not all age as well as we'd wish they did, and The Last House on the Left is no exception to that.

While the original film is to be appreciated without a doubt, here is one remake that captures every special moment from the first, but knows when to stop and when to push for more. The antagonists (Aaron Paul, Garrett Dillanunt, Riki Lindhome) are much better portrayed, and much more likeable. Near the end of the film, viewers almost don't want the villains to lose, and this is something that doesn't happen often. Comparing the victims in the original and the remake, one is fighting back with screams and tears, and one is fighting back physically. 2009 delivered us a very strong female lead, whereas the 1972 original portrayed the victim as a weak, helpless, and pathetic woman; but let's not forget that these are two very different times both cinematically and politically. The acting in the 2009 remake is phenomenal, with each character being portrayed perfectly.

Is the classic good? Absolutely. Is the remake better? Yes. While the original fails to leave a lasting impression due to character flaws (mostly unlikeable and boring), the remake has done everything right that the original failed to do.

 

2.

I Spit on Your Grave 2011

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Let's be straight forward about this, right now. The 1978 film is without a doubt hard to watch, and for one reason only - Roughly a twenty minute rape scene. It's brutal, it's disturbing, and it's a damn good piece of film. Writer and director Meir Zarchi was not fucking around with this release. For those unfamiliar with the movie(s), an aspiring writer is repeatedly (and brutally) gang-raped, beaten, humiliated, and left for dead by a group of men. Of course, the protagonists dramatic need all stems from this. There's no way in hell she's going to let these pricks get away with this, and so the mission for revenge begins.

The original 1978 movie is incredible, it's pacing could use some work, but looking past that, it is the rape-revenge film. Fast forward to 2010, Steven Monroe directs one of the most unexpected remakes of all time. The female lead (Sarah Butler), compared to the 1978 female lead (Camille Keaton) is remarkable, though both were great in their roles, and both were likeable characters - Sarah Butler seemed to "live" the character much better than Keaton. Everything about the remake just felt more alive, and although it wasn't nearly as gritty (how do you get more fucked up than the original?) it brought viewers impressive kill scenes, and intense gore. The 2010 remake is much easier to watch, and much more enjoyable than the original, being that both films are such incredible works of art, it's difficult to say one's better than the other. 

3.

Dawn of the Dead 2004

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George A. Romero has introduced us to the one thing we all love to love, or love to hate - Zombies. It feels as though sometimes we've seen far too much of them, every Sunday we spend our night with them (The Walking Dead, Fear The Walking Dead), and it all started with one genius. While Dawn of the Dead wasn't Romero's first zombie film (see Night of the Living Dead), it's one of his best. This is one of those special circumstances where a remake isn't necessary, and the remake isn't necessarily better than the original film either - However it still stands strong in modern horror cinema.
Many viewers, who are more accustomed to modern horror have had a difficult time watching the original due to it's "cheesier" effects than the remake. Of course the zombies are a lot less terrifying, but a lot more believable/realistic, if zombies can be realistic. The remake introduced us to a new breed of the undead, who seem much more alike the infected in 28 Days Later. They're fast, they're scary, and they're fucked up. In other words, if you have hopes of surviving this outbreak, good fuckin' luck. 

As stated, it isn't necessarily better than the original, though sometime's it's a relief to have a modern touch on these classics. The 2004 remake gave us a handful of characters that viewers have a hard time disliking. Ty Burrell, Ving Rhames, Sarah Polley, Jake Weber, Michael Kelly, and Kevin Zeger's performances knocked this film out of the park. There's one special thing that this remake captured much better than the original 1978 film, and that's not only the struggle with humans vs zombies, but humans vs humans as well. There were tense scenes between different groups of survivors, and let's not forget one more thing - Dawn of the Dead (2010) introduced us to something we've never before seen in zombie cinema, a child zombie (please correct me if I'm wrong).

While it's difficult to shoot down George Romero's 1978 Dawn of the Dead, the remake captured many moments much better than he was able to, making this remake preffered over the original, though it's still recommended to watch both, as at the end of the day, the classics are always classic for a reason. 

4.

Evil Dead 2013

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One of the most hyped remakes of all time (forget what Fede Alvarez says, this is a remake), The Evil Dead pulled in a ton of viewers, and was without a doubt successful. The two films are quite different in their own ways, one major difference being the plot. In the original 1981 (Sam Raimi) film, we see the group going to this cabin in the woods without any reason, why this cabin? Why these woods? It's never explained, and while that's perfectly fine, the 2013 remake offers more backstory on the characters, why they're going to this specific cabin, and so on.

It's a nice remake, done very well. However, it does lack one thing and that is Ash, and his memorable scenes that we don't quite get in the 2013 film. There are a number of scenes that 1981 Evil Dead fans will remember, and it does feel nostalgic to these viewers, but lacks the campy vibe that made The Evil Dead (1981) so much fun, and so fucked up all at once.
The 2013 remake, while it doesn't live up to what made the 1981 film so great, is still an amazing picture in it's own way, thanks to the background story, the gore, and the boobs. It remains a fun edge-of-your-seat movie, and one that can be enjoyed by a room full of viewers crushing Lucky Lagers and chain smoking their brand of cigarettes, as well as on your own.

 

Honourable Mention

 

5.

The Amityville Horror 2005

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While this remake holds so many problems it created for itself, it was a solid horror film and paid good homage to the original. However, forcing viewers to see the paranormal, stole from it's suspense and allowing the imagination to due it's part - Which, in all cases, is more terrifying than what directors are showing us on screen. If you haven't seen this remake, don't feel obligated to. The effects are nicer than the original's practical effects, the writing is well-done, and the acting isn't bad in any way; but there's something missing from this movie that I can't quite put my finger on. Perhaps it's the quick and expected descent into madness by George Lutz (Ryan Reynolds), or the lack of allowing viewers to use their imaginations - It isn't a phenomenal film, and though the original is definitely recommended, for some reason this remake holds a place in my heart and I can't quite grasp why. 

So there you have it, hate my opinion? Let me know, and feel free to share your favourite horror remakes of all time in the comments below. 

About the Author

Luke Oliver

recruit writer

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