When a film released in the past has been successful, it seems a remake is warranted.Most of the time however, these fall short of the original product.In some cases they are actually worse than one might have originally expected.So why are they made? Money, and a guaranteed draw at the box office.No matter how poor they may be, They’re guaranteed to sell tickets.So here’s my pick for the worst 5.
The Vanishing (1993)
There’s a saying a friend of mine has ; “Americans can’t handle unhappy endings.” IN the case of this film.Truer words were never spoken.I first saw this film a long time ago, it seemed like a decent film, not mind blowing but an interesting thriller nonetheless.A mans obsession to find out what happened to his kidnapped girlfriend.And given the answers by her abductor, if he goes through the same ordeal she went through.This includes being drugged and buried alive, only to be rescued at the last minute.It wasn’t until years later that this was actually a remake of a Dutch film released in 1988 entitled Spoorloos.The films are somewhat similar, though in the original version the film concludes with the main character not being rescued from the grave, and the killer luring over newspaper clippings from both of the disappearances.Much like films such as Funny Games having the bad guys win at the end is sometimes necessary.Good doesn’t always come out on top.
Dawn Of The Dead (2004)
I’m well aware there are a lot of people who love this film.And a lot more who find it a worthy remake.I will always disagree.I’ve often stated that Romero’s 1978 version is the “Citizen Kane” of action horror, and why on earth would you try to remake perfection? I did see this when it had it’s first theatrical run, and I wanted a refund almost immediately.The first 10 minutes seemed interesting enough.Sadly, it was all downhill from there.Everything that made the original so great was completely absent.The survivors barricaded inside the mall seemed more like a cast from the real world than a horror film.Visually driven it just seemed like another generic zombie film that appealed to a younger crowd.It also seemed to patronize the people who loved the original as well, with its cameos from the original cast.The first one was like reading a comic book, this one was like watching someone else play a video game.Furthermore, knowing what happens to our heroes at the very end (which this one waited until the credits were rolling to do) takes away the wonder the first one had.
I did a lengthy write up on every reason why I despise this one not to long ago.So I won’t spend to much time on the details.Despite it’s critical acclaim, I stand by my statement that it’s nothing more than a slap in the face to the original.Elijah Wood was not scary or threatening in the least.If you ask me what makes the original so great in my opinion, I’ll sum that up in two words: Joe Spinell.Not only was Spinell the author of the original source material, he give everything he had into his performance of Frank Zito.I would place his performace on par with Michael Rooker in Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer and Robert Mitchum in The Night Of The Hunter.Aside from that, I’ve always strongly felt the original is a product of it’s time, when New York was still reeling from the shockwaves of the the “Son Of Sam” killings.
I’ll say one thing for Gus Van Zant’s 1998 shot by shot remake.You have to be very ambitious, or at least completely fresh out of ideas to try to pull this one off.It’s one thing to remake a film done by undoubtedly one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, it’s quite another to recreate it shot by shot.A lot of this films pitfalls come from the cast in my opinion.Vince Vaughn couldn’t play a psychopath if his life depended on it.And as for Anne Heche, she couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag.A lot of the mystique and awe of the original film came from Hitchcock’s obsessive eye for detail,Which included scenes involving up to 45 different camera angles for some scenes and intentional lens flares.So when we see the same ideas repeated, it loses its original effect.An even larger part was the trailer where Hitchcock taunted the audience into what took place in the film.Also, seeing a lot of these shots in color photography really takes away from the feeling you get when sitting down with the original for the first time.
The Haunting (1999)
If you have ever done research on the history of American film, you’ll most likely come across the name Robert Wise.The man was one of the cornerstones of American 20th century filmmaking.Chief editor of Citizen Kane and responsible for films such as The Sand Pebbles,The Sound Of Music,The Day The Earth Stood Still,West Side Story and a 1963 film entitled The Haunting, which is hailed by many to be one of the best psychological horror films of all time.The 1999 version directed by Jan De Bont, not so much.
Considered by critics and fans as quite possibly the worst remake of all time, if not one of the worst films of all time.During the 1990’s a slew of older horror films were remade with lackluster and shoddy CGI effects, this one is the archetype to that statement.The main premise with the original 1963 version was that most of the elements of the story were never shown, but merely implied.The film was also a study of a woman’s gradual descent into madness.Whereas the original had a paper-thin plot that left nothing for the audience to think about, effects that were downright laughable and oh yeah…Owen Wilson.