There’s been somewhat of a growing assumption that film studios are out of ideas. People claim that there are more reboots, sequels, and spin-offs than creative new ideas. Whether that’s true or not is up for debate. However, there’s no denying that horror films are frequent victims of reboots and remakes.
Some assume that this is because, given the fact that horror films are frequently targeted at teenagers, studios seek to bring older films to a new generation. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, it seems as if the movies would be better off left alone. After all, Netflix is readily available for anyone willing to watch a horror classic.
Not all horror remakes are bad. Once in a blue moon you’ll get something like Let Me In, The Crazies, or Funny Games, which have plenty of fans. More often than not though, viewers get something that ranges from lackluster to absolute garbage. Due to the sheer amount of horror remakes, the list has been dwindled down to just the past ten years.
Even then, it was hard to narrow the list down to just ten. So if you feel like a real stinker is missing, it may have just missed the chopping block.
10. The Stepfather (2009)
This remake of the 1987 film of the same name is an absolute bore without an original idea in its head. Generic, plodding, and above all uninteresting, 2009’s The Stepfather does absolutely nothing to set it apart from the crowd. Yes, it’s a remake of an older film, but while the original was able to build tension through genuine suspense, the remake relies on tired cliches and jump scares.
In addition, while the original film allowed itself to be a little playful here and there thanks to a more satirical approach, the remake chooses to take the dark and gritty route (to no avail). This leads to an overall feeling of deja-vu for even the most casual of horror fans. Lacking the more clever approach to the subject forces the movie to earn comparisons to numerous other recent horror flicks.
The Stepfather sadly shows no signs of competing with comparable horror movies. The characters are uninteresting, the plot is slow-moving with no payoff, and the production is medicore. The Stepfather never comes across as a downright terrible movie, but it does seem like one of the laziest the genre has to offer.
9. Poltergeist (2015)
With a competent director and a solid cast, the Poltergeist remake actually showed promise. It seemed clear that the movie wasn’t going to be a masterpiece, but it could have at least been on the same level as 2013’s Carrie remake. Unfortunately, it failed to even match that.
The recent Poltergeist remake wastes the talents of everyone involved. It plays it far too safe to earn any kind of recommendation. To make matters worse, the few risks that the movie took actually reduce the overall quality. The new Poltergeist is like the unpopular kid in school trying to replicate the behavior of the cool kids. It takes all the right steps, but it never succeeds at being anything more than a copycat.
8. Friday the 13th (2009)
I know this may be a sore subject for some people, but it must be said that the original Friday the 13th was pretty poorly received. In fact, pretty much every entry in the series was bashed by critics. This is in large part due to the fact that it did very little to innovate the genre after the release of the critically acclaimed slasher film Halloween.
Aside from a pretty neat twist, the original Friday the 13th didn’t do much in terms of innovation and new ideas. Sure it was a lot of fun, but it failed to spice up a genre that needed something special. That “special something” unfortunately wouldn’t come for another 4 years with the release of A Nightmare on Elm Street.
The 2009 remake unfortunately has the same problem. It fails in just about every way to distinguish itself not just from the genre, but also the series itself. This re-imagining of 1980 original misses the mark entirely. Not only is it formulaic, but it also fails to bring the fun of the original films. Even the less-than-stellar sequels at least had some “so-bad-it’s-good” entertainment value. This movie doesn’t even have the cheesy charm to justify an ironic watch. It’s simply a slog.
7. When a Stranger Calls (2006)
The original When a Stranger Calls got fairly mixed reviews from critics, but it has since earned somewhat of a cult status thanks to its haunting opening. The cat and mouse game between the lead and the home invader is downright eerie thanks to its subtlety and surprising charm. The scene also works thanks in large part to its brevity.
It quickly grabs the audience’s attention and keeps every viewer invested until the 20 minute inrto is up. In fact, many reviews believed that the original When a Stranger Calls would have worked a lot better as a short film since the remainder of the film’s runtime isn’t able to hold the audience’s attention.
The (unnecessary) remake chose to extend the opening 20 minutes and turn it into a tedious full-length movie. In theory, one might believe that extending the most exciting part of the original film into a full movie would benefit the remake. Unfortunately that’s not the case. Extending the cat and mouse chase only makes it more tiring.
It gives the filmmakers more opportunities to throw in every horror movie cliche they can imagine. As if that weren’t enough, the lead in the remake completely fails to engage. She definitely has the looks, but in terms of acting chops, she can’t compete with Carol Kane. As of right now, the best way to enjoy When a Stranger Calls in any form is to watch the opening twenty minutes of the original and proceed to turn it off.
6. Shutter (2008)
What is up with Asian horror movies trying to make filmgoers fear their household electronics? Ringu made viewers fear their televisions, Pulse made viewers fear their computers, and One Missed Call made viewers fear their phones.
Shutter’s electronic of choice is the camera. Just because it’s a different object doesn’t mean it’s a new idea. If you’ve seen one of the above movies, it could be argued you’ve seen them all. Similarly, if you’ve seen one of the remakes for the above horror movies, you’ve seen all the remakes.
The remakes are considerably worse than the originals because they lack the effort. While the aforementioned original films are undeniably similar, they at least have production teams that care.
These lazy American remakes exist solely to make money. There were a lot of bad Asian horror movie remakes, but Shutter manages to rank among the worst. It’s one of the most uninspired, silly, and poorly made of the bunch. The acting is bad, the story is predictable, and the little amount of effort put into the movie is absolutely evident.