The key to watching a remake is going in with low to no expectations. I learned this the hard way when I went to the new “Evil Dead.” Before the opening credits, I tweeted: “This better be as good as the original!” And I meant it.
I ruined the whole movie for myself.
Digital effects and gore replaced the charming campiness of the original. And, I was more than disappointed Bruce Campbell didn’t have a cameo, but “Evil Dead” did have a fair cast of characters.
The dude from “Red Riding Hood” (Shiloh Fernandez) does his best to look dreamy in a high-stress situation. The guy who reads from the flesh-covered Necronomicon (Lou Taylor Pucci) is like Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards: no matter how many near-death experiences, he “never” dies. And Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore) seems to come out of nowhere for the bread slicer scene.
But, when I think about the other horror remakes I’ve seen, “Evil Dead” is pretty solid, and it doesn’t even make my list of the Top 5 worst horror movie remakes:
5. “Psycho” (1998): Who woulda thought the Norman Bates from this 1998 remake of an Alfred Hitchock masterpiece would later become a comedy star (Vince Vaughn). Even under the direction of Gus Van Sant, even in color, even with modern celebs, it didn’t work as well as the original. There were some average performances, but the film begs the question of all remakes: WHY??
4. “Fright Night” (2011): Ok, Colin Farrell’s a looker, but that doesn’t make up for this remake of the 1985 original. They did do a good job of modernizing it. “Superbad’s” Fogle makes an appearance as the best friend turned vamp, the all-knowing go-to of The Undead is a Vegas spectacle, and they swapped grassroots makeup effects for digital in the most iconic “mouth-gaping” scene of the movie. Downer, but still watchable. On the plus side: Toni Collette and Anton Yelchin totally worked.
3. “Nightmare on Elm Street” (2010): I might just have a thing for Rooney Mara because I liked this more than I should’ve. The Freddy Krueger of my youth was domineering, creepfactor 15 and he kills Johnny Depp in waterbeds. Maybe they cast Jackie Earle Haley cause he’s kinda Freddy-freaky without makeup, but his parlor trick (making sparks with his knife hand) got old real fast. And his victims were always taller than him. #NotFreddyCaliberScary
2. “The Omen” (2006): Liev Schrieber ain’t got nothing on Gregory Peck, and Julia Stiles was so dry as Damien’s mother, I wasn’t upset when he pushed her over the railing because that meant her screen time was over. And the evil nanny scene from the original, shot up close with low lighting for effect … why would you want to remake perfection?
1. “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (2003): They traded the psychos who chase victims in broad daylight for a shy slayer who opts to creep in the darkness. Big mistake as the end scene from the original freaked me out way more than the “Now you see him, now you don’t” scare tactics of today. And, when one of the victims dies, a ring box falls out of his pocket. Backstory to make the death more affecting? Totally unnecessary in my book.
After making my list, I realized the new “Evil Dead” is pretty solid.
They were sure to include scene staples, and on the bright side, this remake will likely turn a new generation of movie-goers onto the original. And for those who haven’t seen the new “Evil Dead,” be sure to wait until after the credits for a “surprise.”
Here’s what made the lists of other movie junkies.
Click here for Moviefone’s 5 Horror Movies That Don’t Suck
Click here for Hitflix’s 10 Horror Remakes That Got It Right
Here’s my all-time favorite horror movie remake:
“Dawn of the Dead” (2004): Sure, zombies can run in this take on the 1978 original. That took me a mere second to get over cause the movie allowed little time for criticism. Everything that happens before the opening credits screams: more suspense and more gore. Director Zack Snyder (“300” and this year’s “Man of Steel”) used technology to his advantage, and by going with the revamped take on zombies, he made this remake his own.
What makes your list?