The film world is full of rehashing old ideas with remakes and reboots of older ideas. Usually, this ends up in a disaster which upsets fans of the original movie. Whether it is not having the right cast, bad directing, weak script, or substituting CGI over practical effects. A million things can go wrong that can make any movie go from greatness to a dumpster fire. Not every single remake is terrible, sometimes they exceed their predecessor. Just like how a million things can go wrong, a lot can go right too. These are five remakes that are better than the original.
#5: The Crazies (2010/1973)
Out of every movie on this list, this is the one that is the worst. The 2010 remake with Timothy Olyphant is not a bad movie, it is a solid B movie to watch one time. The original by George A. Romero is terribly cheesy and has aged horribly. Full of overdramatic acting and poor violence that cannot satisfy someone going in for the violence, it is not one of George’s better films. While the remake feels lacking in its execution of the overall premise, there is plenty to go around that is well done up until the final act. A building of tension when people start acting a little off then turning into bloodthirsty lunatics. By the end, it feels like a bad action thriller, but enough is done right to make it better than its predecessor. Besides, Timothy Olyphant is almost always great.
#4: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011/2009)
If you have read some of my other articles such as my list of great anti-heroes or list of powerful female characters, then you would know I love the novels and Lisbeth Salander as a character. Her being brought to life on film has not been perfect, but the story as a whole is done better in the 2011 version. David Fincher is a mastermind in the director’s chair, especially with his adaptions from beloved novels. From Fight Club to Gone Girl, he knows how to make beautiful and compelling films that pay respect to the source material. The Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is styleless and has a different overall execution of scenes that are done almost exactly the same in the American version. David brings in a new flair to both the characters and cinematography. With Jeff Cronenweth, who has worked with David Fincher on several projects, captures every moment in a beautiful and haunting fashion. The emotions are much more present in both Mikael (Daniel Craig) and Lisbeth (Rooney Mara) whether they are scared, curious, or freezing cold. The novels are full of misery, and that pain is put to good use in the American adaption. Comparing any director to Fincher is going to be difficult because he has a track record that is difficult to beat.
#3: IT (2017/1990)
Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise is beloved by many fans. Besides his excellent portrayal, the tv series does not hold much value. Full of poor 90s CGI, bad acting from both child and adult actors, along with other issues make the miniseries not age well. The 2017 remake blew my mind. Bill Skarsgard was brilliant along with every other actor. A coming of age horror film that brings Stephen King’s classic to life to modern audiences. The focus on the characters was compelling throughout to make the audience care for these children. With sympathetic characters who were brought to life by talented kids made the whole movie a blast. The horror elements felt generic with typical jump scares, the overall quality is still there. With a sequel coming next year, I hope that we can continue to grow these characters and not go downhill like so many sequels tend to do.
#2: Dawn of the Dead (2004/1978)
Out of every mention on this list, the Dawn of the Dead remake will be the most divisive. With all of the respect to George A. Romero for the 1978 classic, I found myself enjoying Zach Snyder’s version so much more. That is a shock to me because I am so much more of a fan of the slow shambling corpses rather than the sprinting flesh-eaters. With the human element being executed better with a solid cast, the 2004 remake takes the cake. While maintaining everything great from the original while putting a new stylistic spin, Zach Snyder not only made a great remake but the only film he has directed that I have enjoyed. With the tension between humans vs. humans along with the threat of being eaten alive, I found this to be more engrossing of a story. I hated the final act of the original because the bikers felt tacked on, needless, and the tone fell apart for me. The stakes rise as the survivors pull together in the remake that makes for a more compelling narrative. On top of the characters and direction the film takes in the story, I cannot hate on a movie that has a Johnny Cash intro along with Disturbed being played at the ending credits.
#1: The Thing (1982/1951)
If you ask someone, “What is the best remake of all time?” then most people will say John Carpenter’s The Thing. I can say that this is my favorite horror movie of all time. Made back in 1982, it holds up like a gem. Practical effects at their best to bring a horrific and gruesome horror film that holds up to this day. While the original The Thing from Outer Space has a less memorable cast since each person is pretty similar. A wider range of characters is set in the 1982 masterpiece along with more mystery. The audience is left on the edge of their seats waiting for the alien to reveal itself. Along with some excellent brutality, the overall tone is more engaging and slower paced. The tension is always present even when the protagonists are happy and think all is well. Not only is the 1982 remake one of the best remakes of all time, but it is also one of the greatest horror films too.
There you have it, those are just five remakes that are able to be better than the originals. While the quality of some of these movies is questionable, they are able to do something different than their predecessor in a more enjoyable way. Comment below some of your favorite remakes and what you thought of this list. I can already feel some excitement from some of you, while I feel some rage coming from others.
Header image via Universal Pictures