“Remakes – most of them suck. Now and then, one comes along that is as good as, if not better, than the original. And after all of the bad ones we’ve endured, we want to know about some good ones.”
Today, we hoppers need to blog about our favourite remake(s) and explain why the remake doesn’t suck!
There are so many awful remakes. So many miserable representations of great books. So many remixed classic songs which have broken my heart. But there are also lots of brilliant remakes which not only don’t suck, but actually improve on the original. You may not agree with my tiny selection of course but here’re my top four horror remakes:
Based on the fabulous Swedish movie Let the Right One In 2008, Let Me In 2010 tells the story of a bullied boy who is befriended by a vampire; not a classic vampire, a child who happened to be a vampire. Before tackling so well, the revival of the Planet of the Apes franchise and the next Batman, Matt Reeves directed this contemporary adolescent love story with a dark horror twist. As tender as it is tense, this remake captures all the magic of the original, even down to the setting, which is a perfect copy of the original, but manages to add more isolation so dread than the original. Both movies are superb and offer a wonderfully original look at a horror character we’ve seen a million times before.
I’m no comedy horror fan as a rule, though there are exceptions. This remake is one such exception. The original 1985 movie became a cult classic, though it was underrated at the time and somewhat cheesy. Both movies focus on a teenage boy who discovers that his neighbour, Jerry is actually a bloodthirsty vampire! He knows he has to protect his family and community and tries to do so with his best pal but of course, things do not quite go to plan. The 2011 remake featured Anton Yelchin who died too early in a car accident last year, as Charley Brewster–the tragic yet charming teen hero. Colin Farrell was also an excellent replacement for Chris Sarandon’s original Jerry, and the rest of the supporting cast did marvellous job, especially Peter Vincent (David Tennant) who was as charismatic as ever in the larger than life role as Hard Rock celebrity vampire killer. The humour is quick and well-timed and although the movie is slim on scares it takes nothing away from this classic comedy horror.
Horror movies are historically exploitative of women (they’re all too often stupid, naked and killed first) and I Spit on Your Grave 1978 offers a reversal of roles. The original was spawned during the development of ‘power-women’ and not too far before Fatal Attraction 1987 when the collective feminist consciousness had gathered steam and shoulder pads the size of houses. It offered a rabid fist-pump to abused women everywhere, so to speak. I Spit on Your Grave 2010 is a more contemporary take on the original although it is as difficult to get through as the original–rape revenge movies are never going to be easy viewing. The violence against the heroine scenes are less overt than they could have made it, thankfully. The scenes of violence against the perpetrators of the violence against her are as creative as they are bloody, however.
The Ring (2002)
Ringu (1998) by Japanese director Hideo Nakata was a clever movie with an original idea based on Koji Suzuki’s novel. However, directors of both movies – Natak and Verbinski – ditch Suzuki’s pseudo-scientific explanation for the videotape, using a mom as the protagonist who is fighting to save her child. His vastly higher budget allowed Verbinski to add much more in The Ring, to transform it into a visual feast of horror. All scenes are somehow overflowing with the kind of inescapable dread that even years after watching will send you skittish at the sight of a static-filled TV screen.