It almost feels like every year we get a new horror remake. From classics to schlocky horror films from the 80’s, no horror movie is immune to being remade, and 2019 is no different with the release of Child’s Play, the remake of the 1988 horror classic featuring the traumatizing Chucky doll. In honor of that film’s release, here are my picks for the best horror remakes.
5 – SORORITY ROW (Stewart Hendler, 2009)
Remake of HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW (Mark Rosman, 1983)
– When you’re remaking House on Sorority Row, a ridiculous, yet very fun cult flick, you can’t make the movie too serious and that’s where Sorority Row succeeds in spades. This movie is ridiculous in every aspect. This is one of my true guilty pleasure films. It’s almost as if someone made Pretty Little Liars but upped the violence and sex. The performances are hammy, the murders are grotesque and bloody, and the film is filled with sex, partying, and rowdiness. Sorority Row is a lot of fun to watch and would be even more fun with a midnight crowd after having a few adult beverages.
4 –DAWN OF THE DEAD (Zack Snyder, 2004)
Remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD (George Romero, 1978)
It’s a bold choice to do a remake of a film many consider to be George Romero’s masterpiece, especially when you are not a horror director. But Zack Snyder had the guts to do it with his feature film directorial debut and the result was rather impressive. With a smart, witty script from James Gunn, Snyder was able to give us a bloody good time. Though it may not have the social commentary Romero’s original had, Snyder still gives us an exciting movie that is full thrills, scares, and even some laughs here and there. The ensemble, featuring the likes of Ving Rhames, Sara Polley, Mekhi Pheifer, and Michael Kelly, are uniformly great and Gunn’s character-focused script allows them to be more than just bland characters in a zombie movie. This is far and away Snyder’s best film as a director and a film Romero would be proud of.
3 – FRIGHT NIGHT (Craig Gillespie, 2011)
Remake of FRIGHT NIGHT (Tom Holland, 1985)
– Craig Gillespie’s Fright Night was one of the biggest surprises of 2011. Telling the story of a teenage boy who suspects his neighbor is a vampire, Fright Night is a smart, compelling, darkly funny horror film. The young cast of Anton Yelich (R.I.P.), Imogen Poots, Christopher Mintz-Plasse all give top notch performances, along with veterans Toni Collette and David Tennant. But the true star, and reason this movie succeeds as well as it does, is the performance from Colin Ferrell as our neighborly vampire. In one of Ferrell’s best performances to date, delivering a performance that is as sexy and cool as it is scary. Ferrell is having an absolute blast here and carries what would have been a run-of-the mill remake to an already weird idea into something truly special.
2 – THE THING (John Carpenter, 1982)
Remake of THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD, 1951)
– John Carpenter’s The Thing is arguably the director’s finest achievement behind the camera. This is a tight, claustrophobic thriller set in the frigid Antarctic cold, as a group of researchers discover an ancient shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims. Carpenter does a masterful job of building tension, slowly taking us on this paranoid journey these men are on that only gets more and more intense as the movie goes on. The thrills are endless and The Thing features some of the greatest practical effects I have ever seen on film. The Thing isn’t a horror movie in the general sense, though there are a couple jump scares and some gory parts, but the horror lies in the scenario: on an isolated location with an alien assuming the identity of the people you know, how do you know someone is not the alien? Who can you trust? It’s a chilling scenario and the film’s finale only makes it that much more haunting. The Thing is not only an all-time horror film, but one of the great films of the 1980’s.
1 – THE FLY (David Cronenberg, 1986)
Remake of THE FLY (Kurt Neumann, 1958)
The original 1958 version of The Fly played like a classic midnight movie. A rather ridiculous idea at the time that would cause more laughs than scares today. The same cannot be said for David Cronenberg’s film, the seminal piece of the body-horror genre and the film that put Cronenberg on the map. Taking a look a brilliant but eccentric scientist (Jeff Goldblum, in his best performance ever) who begins to transform into a giant man/fly hybrid after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong, this is a film that will be seared in your brain long after you see it. As only Cronenberg could, this is a gross, shocking, gory, yet beautiful film that looks at obsession, ego, and the demise of a genius and relationship. Incredible make-up and visual effects coupled with a great score and Cronenberg’s astounding direction make the fly the best body-horror movie and the best horror remake ever made.