Horror movie fanatics can be the harshest critics of the genre and lots of fellow horror movie fanatics really hate remakes of their beloved films. Remakes and reboots are hated in general (let’s not even discuss the fan backlash surrounding the “Ghostbusters” remake) and sequels, while somewhat more welcomed, tend to not be so great themselves.
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Lots of horror fans seem to agree that the ’80s were the most beloved era for horror, as it’s definitely then when the movie genre really boomed. Just look at all “Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th” films released between 1980 and 1990, for example.
Since the year 2000, horror underwent a bit of a renaissance. There have been some genuinely great movies like “the Conjuring,” “The Babadook,” and “It Follows.” But, with all these great original movies, what about the great reboots and sequels? And, let’s forget about the ’80s for a minute, and talk about the more recently released ones.
17. Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) (2011)
This movie isn’t so much enjoyable as it is, at best, really disgusting. This movie is also oddly meta. The plot of this film is that the creepy Martin (played by Laurence R. Harvey) is inspired by “The Human Centipede (First Sequence)” and contacts the actress from the first movie, Ashlynn Yennie (playing herself), so he can create an even bigger human centipede. He then spends what seems like an absurd amount of time knocking her teeth out, one-by-one, with a freakin’ hammer.
There’s also a scene where a pregnant woman, originally thought dead, wakes up and escapes. The stress of her escape, of course, makes her give birth and then unintentionally smash her baby’s skull under the pedal of the car she’s escaping in. Because sure, why not? Let’s not even discuss the one moment the movie shows a color besides black and white: when we see the centipede’s diarrhea splatter on the wall. Whether It’s gore/torture-porn at its best (or worst, depending on your view).
16. Scream 3 (2000)
This movie is one of the weaker (maybe even the weakest) of the “Scream” films. “Scream 3” has a lot of characters that make you yawn and think, “When are they getting stabbed to death?” It takes the fun meta-ness of the “Scream” series and makes it shotgun a large bottle of Mountain Dew. The plot of the movie revolves around the filming of Stab 3, the in-universe movie based on the killings in the “Scream” series. This movie also features Parker Posey playing Jennifer Jolie — the actress cast to play Gale Weathers in the newest Stab movie as she tries her best to make this movie better than it is.
Neve Campbell is barely in this one and Jay and Silent Bob make a weird (albeit kinda funny) cameo as themselves. When Jenny McCarthy is one of the bigger names of the newcomers and Liev Schreiber is the big celebrity death in the opening, you might want to rethink your “Scream” movie. All that aside, this movie is still better than most slasher films that wish they were as good as the “Scream” franchise. Jennifer Jolie is one of the only characters you care about who should’ve survived the film or, at the very least, gotten a way better death.
15. Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
“Paranormal Activity 2” is mostly okay. It’s basically a clone of the first movie with a bigger budget. It doesn’t add anything all that new to the series nor do the scares seem that different, but if the first movie worked for you, this one will too. It does, however, do a good job of continuing the “Paranormal Activity” storyline. More prequel than sequel, the movie begins before the events of the first film and ends around the same time as the first one ends.
It has cameos from the couple we loved watching get tormented in the first one, Katie and Micah, and adds an entire new family for us to watch go completely insane. There is one big scene where the mother is sitting in the kitchen and her entire kitchen bursts open, dishes flying everywhere, which is one of the best scares of the entire series. An awkward downside is that this movie also adds a Hispanic nanny that is a character best left in an ’80s horror movie.
14. Saw II (2005)
“Saw” is one of the best in the genre of torture horror. Unlike other other films in the genre like “Hostel” or “Human Centipede,” this franchise gives you an actual plot in, well, most of the “Saw” movies. The first film was genuinely well-done and had a crazy twist ending. “Saw II” lives up to the first move both in terms of gore and plot twists.
Jigsaw, the killer from the first movie, isn’t working alone in this sequel and he’s trapped a group of not-so-great people in a house together full of his insane traps. One of the crazier scenes sends a character digging through a pile of used medical needles, while another has a character literally ripping part of his neck off. The twist at the end isn’t as crazy or surprising as the first film’s, but it’s still a good one. This movie could even stand on its own as a fun horror movie, while the same could probably not be said for many of the rest of the films in the series.
13. House of Wax (2005)
Don’t let the “starring Paris Hilton” part of this remake fool you. This movie is weird, gore-filled and a really fun horror movie. It’s also fairly intense for a horror movie starring Paris Hilton, as well as has some other familiar faces in Elisha Cuthbert (from “24” and “Happy Endings”), Chad Michael Murray (from “Agent Carter”), and Jared Padalecki (“Supernatural”).
The movie is more of a shell of the original, but in the best way possible. It doesn’t try to recreate the original as a whole, but rather it takes the same basic plot and makes it its own. The deaths are brutal (Paris Hilton’s being one of the most, with a tendon slash and a literal pole shoved through her head) and the action is real. Cuthbert’s Carly gets her finger cut off in one particularly cringe-worthy scene, while another character is beheaded while pleading for his life in another. You want these characters to survive and the end is incredibly over-the-top, with melty wax and all, but it totally works.
12. The Purge: Election Year (2016)
“The Purge” is an oddly relevant horror series that even had its own “Rick & Morty” parody episode. The sequels have all nearly rivalled the first film, something that almost never happens with a film franchise. The first movie was about a rich, white family protecting themselves on Purge Night: a 12-hour period where literally every crime becomes legal, so people go out in murderous groups to maim, steal and kill.
The sequel told the story of several different groups of people during Purge Night, and this one brings back Frank Grillo’s Leo to protect Elizabeth Mitchell’s Senator Charlie Roan on the chaotic night. To say releasing this movie in an election year (where one of America’s candidates is a blonde white woman and another is white man who sometimes incites violence) is a little on the nose would be a freakin’ understatement, but this movie makes its ham-fisted analogy work. Mitchell (“LOST”) is perfectly cast and Grillo ( “Captain America: Civil War”) is the hero you want in a horror movie. The movie is brutal, intense and will (hopefully) help translate to a great TV series.
11. Fright Night (2011)
This movie is like a really fun, big budget episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” but without the Slayer herself. It has a pretty stellar cast (Anton Yelchin of “Star Trek,” Colin Farrell, Toni Collette of “Sixth Sense,”David Tennant of “Doctor Who,” and a lots more) and the movie is both bloody and fun.
“Fright Night” never takes itself too seriously, and the movie really takes off once Tennant’s fake vampire slayer, Peter Vincent, shows up. Even his partner, Ginger (played by Sandra Vergara), is a joy to watch on screen. This movie is both a send-up to the original and a really fun movie in its own sense. It’s very horror-lite but still works. It also does a good job of making you care about these characters and enjoying the ride. You’ll even be genuinely bummed out when certain characters are killed, which is a nice bonus to any horror movie.
10. Predators (2010)
Each entry in the “Predator” series is a classic. They are more sci-fi and less horror but still considered horror movies in the way that “Alien” is. And they are, after all, fairly bloody. “Predators” has nearly nothing to do with the other movies aside from a passing reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character from the first one and the fact that it’s starring the same alien monsters from the previous films.
The film begins with Adrian Brody and the rest of the humans being parachuted into an unknown jungle area that ends up being a hunting ground for the Predators. It’s later revealed that the Predators in this sequel are warring factions of two different Predator tribes. So obviously, this leads to lots of chances for the gang to get offed. They’re all killers of different degrees (soldiers, murderers, cartel enforcers, etc) so that the Predators can have a challenging hunt. There’s a twist with Topher Grace’s character that’s, well, not the best (instead of randomly not being a killer, it’s revealed he’s actually a murderer after all), but the movie works. The film does the original total justice. The plot might not be the most innovative, but it’s definitely action packed and a fun watch.
9. Evil Dead (2013)
This remake is pretty weird, especially when compared to the originals. The movie also completely works even if you’ve never seen any of the original “Evil Dead” movies or its ongoing TV series sequel. In place of Bruce Campbell’s Ash, is Jane Levy’s Mia (kinda). There’s still the unfortunate tree branch rape scene, the insane Deadite friend locked in a cellar, a spooky Necronomicon-type book, and blood, but “Evil Dead” is its own movie regardless. It also does a great job of being intense and full of realistic gore.
Mia, the main character, is a recovering drug addict who tells her friends she’s seeing things in the woods, but they don’t believe her until it’s too late. She then ends up being the possessed one in the cellar, but by the end of the film, is no longer possessed and actually the sole survivor. However, she has her hand ripped off and replaced with a chainsaw (a bloody and fun nod to “Army of Darkness”). To top things off, the post-credits scene has a fun, albeit kind of nonsensical, cameo from Bruce Campbell’s Ash.
8. Freddy VS Jason (2003)
The premise of this movie had been a fan’s dream for what felt like forever. And then it finally happened: a crossover horror movie between Freedy and Jason. “Freddy Vs. Jason” even featured a cameo from Jason’s murderous mother, Pamela Voorhees. “Freddy VS Jason” is very into not having much of a relation to anything else from the previous “Nightmare on Elm Street” or “Friday the 13th” films.
Robert Englund reprises his role as Freddy Krueger, but no one else, not even Kane Hodder who’d played Jason in nearly every other “Friday the 13th” movie, is back. The most famous person in the cast is former Destiny’s Child member, Kelly Rowland. And, don’t forget, Rowland’s big scene is Freddy calling her “dark meat” (ugh), then her calling Freddy a homophobic slur (ugh), and having Jason hit her so hard she slams against a tree and dies. But, as far as weird crossover movies go, this is one of the better horror ones. Plus, Jason does stab a dude to death in his bed and then fold the bed up like a soft shell taco, so there’s always that.
7. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
This remake works well if, much like the others, you’re willing let go of the original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” films. This movie is intense, gory and crazy thrilling. Plus, this movie is very different from the original. That may be for the best, as a shot-for-shot remake didn’t work so well for “Psycho” after all.
The family is in this incarnation of the film isn’t cannibalistic, but they’re still really upsetting in other murderous ways. Jessica Biel is oddly well-cast as the Final Girl in this and you actually care about the rest of the cast, too. R. Lee Ermey does his best horror movie version of his “Full Metal Jacket” character and it totally works for the movie. The scene where he makes Jonathan Tucker’s Morgan shove the gun down his throat in front of his friends is legit jarring as hell. And the scene where Leatherface enters, opening the wall behind Biel’s character, is incredibly iconic (and recreated in nearly every haunted house you go to that has a person with a chainsaw as one of its scares).
6. V/H/S/2 (2013)
The “V/H/S” anthology movies can be very uneven. They all have certain segments that are stronger than others. This sequel is no different. “V/H/S/2,” however, might even be stronger than the first one. The “Tape 49/frame narrative” story is way more interesting and much creepier too, on top of having a pretty crazy ending. Meanwhile, the “Phase I Clinical Trials” segment is like a well-polished, first-person-shooter video game that contains a few jumps.
“A Ride In The Park” is pretty innovative for the hand-held camera genre, and also kind of intense. It’s got a guy with a GoPro on his helmet who gets turned into a zombie. It’s different to see a zombie movie from the zombie’s literal point of view. The final segment, about kids at a slumber party being stalked by aliens, is also really intense and ends with the sad death of a dog. The segment that’s maybe the best of any “V/H/S” short involves a cult and a news crew. “Safe Haven” is not only an incredibly intense and terrifying segment, it’s also absolutely bananas. A cult, mass suicide, zombies, demons, a demonic birth, and lots of murder make for one incredibly intense horror movie mashup segment.
5. Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
Prequel movies can be pretty polarizing and, normally, a prequel isn’t the best idea for a horror series. That goes double when you realize “Paranormal Activity 3” is following two films that essentially brought the home-made camera genre back into the horror fold (after being somewhat pioneered by “Blair Witch”). So the fact that this franchise was able to make, arguably, the best film of the series with the third one is pretty impressive.
The decision to make the film look like it came from grainy VHS footage really worked in the movie’s favor. The main characters being adorable little kids also helped because it made you feel a sense of dread that had been missing from the previous films. It also gave the movie an added sense of hopelessness, which they all seem to have, because the little girls were so believably terrified. The oscillating fan in the kitchen created some insanely thrilling scenes. Not to mention that kitchen scene with the babysitter and the “Nightmare on Elm Street” reference. If you only plan to watch one “Paranormal Activity” movie, make it this one.
4. 28 Weeks Later (2007)
The first movie, “28 Days Later,” was one of the most popular zombie movies when it came out. It was also a zombie movie contrarian’s dream, as the infected weren’t technically considered zombies, they were victims of the Rage Virus, which came from a monkey. No matter what kind of movie you consider “28 Weeks Later” to be, it’s really stellar.
The opening scene (along with the score) alone are enough to make this movie nearly perfect. The despair and intensity make for a great horror movie, and a really incredible film in general. This film is set in the same world of the first movie but would also work even if it hadn’t been part of the same continuity. Rose Byrne (“X-Men: Apocalypse”) and Jeremy Renner (“The Avengers”) are stellar leading actors in this movie, but it’s the younger kids, Imogen Poots and Mackintosh Muggleton, that really make the film. You want these kids to make it. “28 Weeks Later” is nearly relentless with its despair in the best kind of way, and also, the deaths are incredibly brutal.
3. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Before “Sucker Punch,” “300” or “Man of Steel,” Zack Snyder’s directorial debut feature film was the “Dawn of the Dead” remake. And way before penning “Guardians of the Galaxy,” James Gunn wrote this movie. It was a match made in horror heaven. “Dawn of the Dead” also boasts a great cast with the likes of Sarah Polley (“Go”), Ving Rhames (“Pulp Fiction”), Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”), Mekhi Phifer (“ER”), and Matt Frewer (“Max Headroom”).
The film pays homage to the original while still updating it for the 2000s. They nearly blow their load on the bonkers crazy opening: a child from next door breaks into Polley’s character’s house, rips into her husband’s neck, and her husband quickly becomes a zombie and tires to murder her. She escapes and finds herself trapped in a local mall with other survivors of the zombie apocalypse. These zombies, not unlike the not-actually-zombies in “28 Weeks Later,” can run, adding to the already high levels of suspense. Some of the characters, like Burrell’s creeper, border on the silly, but that fits the tone of the original. Also, how many zombie movies can brag about having a zombie baby birth?
2. Scream 4 (2011)
Coming out 11 years after the third film, “Scream 4” has David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, Wes Craven, and Kevin Williamson all returning for this instalment and it was spectacular. The opening to this movie is so meta it nearly collapses in on itself, with cameos from Kristen Bell and Anna Paquin as the actresses within the newest Stab movie (the movie franchise inside the “Scream” universe).
The film really starts to shine once the band gets back together. The newer characters aren’t all as dynamic as the first film, but are still an upgrade from the last two sequels. Hayden Panettiere’s Kirby is one of the best characters you didn’t want to die in “Scream” since Rose McGowan’s Tatum. The scene of Kirby listing off every horror remake to the killer on the phone rivals Cox’s Gale Weathers-Riley telling a classroom of teens to “fuck off.” The movie has almost all the bite, sass, and gore of the first.
1. The Ring (2002)
This movie is so perfect, it almost feels unfair to call it a remake, but that’s exactly what it is. “The Ring” is a remake of the Japanese horror film, “Ringu,” that surpasses the original in almost every way. This movie paved the way for a plethora of lesser-quality Japanese horror movie remakes like “The Grudge,” “Dark Water,” “Pulse,” and “One Missed Call.”
One of the reasons the movie works so well is because of the star, Naomi Watts. Watts’ Rachel never once gives up or seems weak, but always seems understandably and consistently low-key panicked. This movie tells a great story, looks like a work of art, and still works as a truly horrifying horror movie. Samara’s appearance at the end will make you cringe and squint your eyes even on your 678th viewing. It’s a shame that the sequel, which had most of the same creative team back, was such a lackluster film in comparison. But don’t let the sequel sully the good name of this first film. “The Ring” is a must-watch!
What other horror movie sequels or remakes did you want to see on this list? Les us know in the comments.
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