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Horror Remakes That Surpassed Expectations and Remakes That Flopped

Chloë Grace Moretz Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Screen Gems Misher Films

Very Rarely Do Horror Remakes Surpass Expectations

Horror is constantly evolving as a genre, taking references from all forms of media and attempting to create movies that stick with viewers far after the initial viewing. Whether it be classic slashers, psychological thrillers, monster and body horror, science fiction, or “elevated horror,” these films are often mainstays in the world or scary movies. Often, countless properties are remade, whether necessary or not. Some films are remade a few decades after their initial release, and some are just a few years old. When these remakes come out, the reception is usually extremely negative, with questions often revolving around, “Why recreate a movie that’s already been done amazingly for anything other than a cash grab?” Most of the time, the sentiment stands true, and the films are worse retellings and tarnish the legacy of the original. That being said, there are occurrences when the remake surpasses the original in overall quality and material — when this happens, the remake in question takes the place of the original and becomes the new supreme.

Evil Dead (2013/2023)

This is a rare case as the movie has been remade two times since its initial release in 1981, originally directed by Sam Raimi. Evil Dead from 2013, directed by Fede Álvarez, and Evil Dead Rise from 2023, directed by Lee Cronin, both represent the peaks in the series they are adapting. The original is a conglomeration of camp and horror, creating an environment where the tone Raimi is going for isn’t truly evident. The characters are also given no development whatsoever, with barely Ash (the protagonist) being given any character-defining traits. Álvarez and Cronin, on the other hand, came in with something to prove and illustrated just that with their works — each fleshing out the characters, making their deaths hurt even more. They also both highlight the genuine fear that comes from the Deadites, their manipulation, and their pure love for chaos and death, which makes them unredeemable. When watching the 2013 and 2023 versions, the viewer will most likely leave with a sense of anxiety and a pressing weight on their chest – the only thing you can ask for when watching a horror movie.

Alyssa Sutherland as Ellie New Line Cinema Renaissance Pictures Pacific Renaissance Wild Atlantic Pictures Alyssa Sutherland as Ellie
New Line Cinema/Renaissance Pictures/Pacific Renaissance/Wild Atlantic Pictures

Hellraiser (2022)

Hellraiser initially came out in 1987 and was directed by Clive Barker, with the remake hitting screens in 2022, directed by David Bruckner. The original Hellraiser is a strong movie; the characters are dynamic and captivating to the core, and the Cenobites are truly the best part of this film. That being said, the biggest downfall of this film is, unfortunately, how contained it felt. The Cenobites didn’t feel like larger-than-life creatures hellbent on combining pleasure and pain. They just felt like creatures hunting one specific person. In the remake, however, the Cenobites are truly terrifying, demonstrating how no one is safe from them, even those who don’t directly deal with the feelings the Cenobites bring. Another addition that makes this film more enjoyable are the body count and kills. There are numerous victims in this story that viewers genuinely mourn due to the sadness their deaths cause, which makes the viewer root for the success of the lead character, Riley McKendry, played by Odessa A’zion.

Jamie Clayton as Pinhead 20th Century Studios Spyglass Media Group Phantom Four Films 247Hub Jamie Clayton as Pinhead
20th Century Studios/Spyglass Media Group/Phantom Four Films/247Hub

The Invisible Man (2020) 

The Invisible Man is similarly unlike most on this list with its initial release coming out in 1933 and was directed by James Whale. The remake was released in 2020 and directed by Leigh Whannell and illustrates all the potential that can come with the horror of the invisible man. The original movie is an interesting concept, especially for its time, but the invisible man isn’t really who he became known as in this adaptation. He’s a murderer, and that’s his only characteristic. The invisible man in the remake, on the other hand, will leave you genuinely questioning if someone is standing right next to you, waiting for the moment to strike. The remake takes a more psychological approach and follows a domestic abuse victim after her abusive spouse dies. Similar to the main character, the viewer begins to question everything they see as shots linger with no one there, as the framing leaves a majority of the space empty, and as sounds come in and out as if there is another person there entirely. The Invisible Man is a movie that leaves people fearful of free space.

Elisabeth Moss as Cecilia “Cee” Kass Blumhouse Productions Goalpost Pictures Nervous Tick Productions Elisabeth Moss as Cecilia “Cee” Kass
Blumhouse Productions/Goalpost Pictures/Nervous Tick Productions

The Thing (1982)

The Thing initially came out in 1951 and went by the name The Thing From Another World and was directed by Christian Nyby. The remake (which was then remade in 2011) came out in 1982 and was directed by John Carpenter. The remake is such an amazing remake then when people are informed that it is one, they can’t even recall the movie it is based upon. The remake is one for the books in terms of character dissections as well as the perfect movie for a rewatch to try and catch glimpses of when the characters are taken over by the Thing. Headed by a stellar cast including Kurt Russell, Keith David, and T.K. Carter, the film remains a mainstay in the genre. The original isn’t a bad film by any means; it’s the true definition of “fine,” but in this case, the remake took all the ideas the original began to discuss and expanded upon them infinitely more, making the film feel more fully realized.

Kurt Russell as R.J. MacReady The Turman-Foster Company Kurt Russell as R.J. MacReady
The Turman-Foster Company

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

A Nightmare on Elm Street initially came out in 1984 and was directed by Wes Craven, with the remake coming out in 2010, directed by Samuel Bayer. The remake commits a cardinal sin, and that is ruining the beloved face of the franchise – Freddy Kruger. Freddy’s appeal as the horror killer in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise is his comedic abilities and overall clever campy kills. The films have never really taken themselves seriously, so when the remake does, and it makes Freddy’s crime that much worse, which leads to his initial death by fire, it makes the entire idea of rooting for any previous incarnation disgusting as the idea of what Freddy did in the remake will always circle back to the viewer. Robert Englund’s charm and wit that he brings to Freddy is replaced by Jackie Earl Haley, who does his best despite the darkness this film portrays. This movie is such a bad remake and can be quoted as one of if not the worst remake ever due to the legacy it left. 

Kurt Russell as R.J. MacReady The Turman-Foster Company Kurt Russell as R.J. MacReady
The Turman-Foster Company

Carrie (2013)

Carrie initially came out in 1976 and was directed by Brian De Palma in an excellent adaption of Steven King’s novel of the same name. The remake was released in 2013 and directed by Kimberly Peirce, and unfortunately, the same can not be said. For one, the acting is surprisingly not up to par with the biggest aspect of the movie flopping – Chloë Grace Moretz’s take on Carrie White. The movie was just completely uninspired, at this point being the fifth telling of this story in some variation. The original has a sense of earnestness in its depiction of Carrie, and it manages to incite a deep sense of sympathy for Sissy Spacek’s Carrie White. Moretz, on the other hand, takes this character and makes her a nothing entity in the story, only coming alive in the end when she snaps and begins to destroy the gym with her classmates and teachers inside. Carrie should leave people feeling confused about how they should think about Carrie, the victim turned killer. Instead, the remake leaves the viewer thinking whether or not the original was this bland.

Chloë Grace Moretz Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Screen Gems Misher Films Chloë Grace Moretz
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Screen Gems/Misher Films

Psycho (1998) 

Psycho came out in 1960 and was directed by Alfred Hitchcock, cementing itself as what horror had the potential to be. Its sequel came out in 1998 and was directed by Gus Van Sant, and is quite literally one of the worst remakes of all time, not because it was a bad movie, but because it was a shot-for-shot remake. It was the definition of “cash grab” and showed the hand of a lot of horror remake directors. The casting is also a huge drawback in this movie, as Vince Vaughn just doesn’t have the same acting capabilities as Anthony Perkins to pull off such a dynamic and nuanced role as Norman Bates. The original Psycho is a staple in the genre; it’s the movie that everyone cites as one of the best horror movies of all time with the plot twist, jump scares, acting, and overall narrative. The remake somehow muddles all of these positives and makes something predictable and boring, which is the worst thing a movie can be.

Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates Imagine Entertainment Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates
Imagine Entertainment

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre initially came out in 1974 and was directed by Tobe Hooper in what is now known as one of the best slashers of all time. During the 2000s, the movie was remade, but that isn’t the remake that made it on the list; it’s the remake that came out in 2022. The original film is one that, to this day stands out as a peak in the genre of horror and a film that helped popularize the slasher subgenre. The remake, on the other hand, failed not because of its story, which was interesting, but because of the lack of rootable characters. The majority of characters in the film are unlikeable and generally rude, with few redeemable qualities; therefore, when they die, the viewer feels little guilt. The worst thing of all, however, is the return of Sally Hardesty, whose return feels like a failed attempt at Laurie Strode, with the original actress – Marilyn Burns – not even coming back to play her and instead being replaced by Olwen Fouéré. The only highlight of the remake were the kills, but great kills don’t make a great movie.

Mark Burnham as Leatherface Legendary Pictures Exurbia Films Bad Hombre Mark Burnham as Leatherface
Legendary Pictures/Exurbia Films/Bad Hombre

The Thing 1982 Trailer

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