Many horror fans LOVE to hate horror remakes, but sometimes a great remake comes along. We’ve made a list of 10 of the best horror remakes produced after 2000.
You’ll notice that a lot of names come up over and over again. Some people started out doing some amazing horror remakes, and now they’re the ones making movies that will probably be remade in 20 years time.
Evil Dead (2013)
Original: The Evil Dead (1981)
Fede Alvarez made a new generation fall in love with the Evil Dead. Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell (of the original 1981 movie) produced and supported this remake. The result was a brilliant and very entertaining tribute to the original.
This time a woman (Jane Levy from Don’t Breathe) was the last man standing, which is wonderfully common in this genre. In many ways, they managed to give us a new story, while staying very true to the original. That’s always the best way to do horror remakes, in my opinion.
Also, when you do it this way – change things up a bit and get the original creators onboard – you know it’ll be a loving tribute and not just to make lots of money. Much like it was the case with this new Ghostbusters even though a group of people did their damn best to ruin everything from the second the all-female cast was announced. Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell would’ve ripped those “fans” apart if they’d tried that stunt with their remake.
Original: Maniac (1980)
Elijah Wood is simply brilliant in this remake, where he portrays Frank. The role was originated by Joe Spinell, who also wrote the script for the original. This new screenplay is by Alexandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur, which is quite the dynamic horror duo. They wrote Haute Tension as well as the remake of The Hills Have Eyes which is featured on this list. Both were directed by Aja, who also directed The 9th Life of Louis Drax, which is out in theaters now.
The director for the Maniac remake was Franck Khalfoun, who will be out with Amityville: The Awakening next year.
Piranha 3D (2010)
Original: Piranha (1978)
This is the kind of remake that only becomes more camp and kitsch than the remake. And it’s exactly what makes it work so damn well. Directed by Alexandre Aja – a name you’ll come across many times on this page – and with a stellar cast, this was bound to be a popular remake. The original was directed by Joe Dante, who went on to make Twilight Zone: The Movie and Gremlins.
Elizabeth Shue, Jerry O’Connell, Ving Rhames and Christopher Lloyd stars, while Richard Dreyfuss and Eli Roth make some very cool appearances! When horror remakes have truly iconic originals, and the remake is pretty camp, you tend to see awesome cameos.
The Crazies (2010)
Original: The Crazies (1973)
The original was directed (and written) by one of the biggest horror directors: George A. Romero. And yet, the remake actually has a better rating on IMDb. The 2010 remake of The Crazies was directed by Breck Eisner and starred Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell and Joe Anderson (Abattoir).
Scott Kosar and Ray Wright wrote the script. Kosar made his screenwriter debut with the script for the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 2003. And then he wrote The Amityville Horror in 2005.
Personally, I remember watching this in a movie theater, where three teenage boys in the next row spent most of the movie in a sitting fetal position of sorts. So yeah, it did the trick all right!
The Last House on the Left (2009)
Original: The Last House on the Left (1972)
Yet another horror classic, written and directed by one of the biggest horror masters. This time the horror master is Wes Craven. By the way, most of you should be happy to see that (of course) the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street is not on this list!
The remake was directed by Dennis Iliadis with a script by Adam Alleca and Carl Ellsworth. Ellsworth also wrote the screenplay for D.J. Caruso’s Disturbia in 2007, which was a modernized version of Hitchcock’s Rear Window from 1954.
This is a great example of why horror remakes can so easily work. The story itself is in no way dated and the fear is as relevant as ever.
The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
Original: The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
As we’ve already stated, this 2006 horror remake was directed by Alexandre Aja, with a script by Aja and Grégory Levasseur. The original is yet another of Wes Craven’s classic movies. Both written and director by the master himself.
For me, the remake is even more scary due to it’s realistic and very graphic shots. I definitely watch a lot of horror, but still, this is the one movie I always think about when I’m about to embark on a road trip anywhere near deserted areas.
The combination of Wes Craven’s ideas and Alexandre Aja’s interpretation is one creepy cocktail for me.
The Grudge (2004)
Original: Ju-on (2002)
This time around, we’re talking a literal remake across language and culture as opposed to time. The Japanese original was very dark and creepy, but the remake managed to bring more storytelling to the table.
However, the American remake was directed by the same director as the original Japanese movie, so you can feel fairly sure that he merely adapted his vision to suit the Western palate for horror. To ensure this, the script was written by Stephen Susco, who also wrote the script for the remake of Flatliners, which is currently filming and should be out next year.
The director of both the original and the remake is Takashi Shimizu and actually, the Ju-on movie from 2002 isn’t even the original movie. Shimizu first made two low budget movies based on the story in 2000 – one of them even has the title of Ju-on.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Original: Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Once again, we’re dealing with an original movie written and directed by one of the horror greats. This time we’re back with George A. Romero, who made the movie for an estimated budget of just $650,000. The remake cost a bit more at $26 million. Of course, it made more than that on the opening weekend in the US, which is why horror remakes continue to be so popular to produce.
The remake cast featured already established name like Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Mekhi Phifer, Jake Weber, Michael Kelly, Kevin Zegers and Lindy Booth.
Zack Snyder made his feature film debut with the remake back in 2004. His next movie was 300 and he hasn’t left the world of graphic novels and comic books since. These years he’s got a steady job of making DC Comics movies; Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and is currently filming Justice League.
The script for the Dawn of the Dead remake was by James Gunn, who also went on to working on movies based on comic books. However, he’s doing the Marvel thing, as the director and co-writer of the very popular Guardian of the Galaxy – including the sequel coming out next year.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
Original: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
Tobe Hooper’s original is absolutely a classic, and everyone who loves horror should watch it. But watching the original and the remake today, the remake is more scary. There, I said it! If you want the grotesque and over the top scenes that the original offers, then obviously, you’ll prefer that one.
The 2003 version starred Jessica Biel, Jonathan Tucker, Mike Vogel, Erica Leerhsen, Eric Balfour and R. Lee Ermey. This horror remake was the feature film debut for director, Marcus Nispel, who had primarily done music videos prior to this. Much like David Fincher started his career, so that’s not exactly a bad thing.
Of course, Nispel hasn’t done anything too interesting since and Tobe Hooper went on to do Poltergeist in 1982 (based on a story by Steven Spielberg, who also co-wrote the screenplay). And that movie is a lot scarier than the very disappointing remake from 2015, which was just plain stupid in many ways. So of course, Hooper remains the true winner!
The Ring (2002)
Original: Ringu (1998)
Just like it was the case with Ju-on this is one of those remakes that cut across language instead of time. The very popular Japanese horror movie Ringu from 1998 was based on the novel by Kôji Suzuki. Before it was even given the Hollywood treatment, it had already been made into a 12 episode TV series in its native Japan.
The 2002 remake starred Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson and Brian Cox. It was directed by Gore Verbinski, who went on to make a whole lot of movies starring Johnny Depp. Including the animated Rango, which won him an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film. Didn’t see that coming when he made The Ring. Fortunately, he’s back in the horror niche next year with A Cure for Wellness.
The US script for The Ring was written by Ehren Kruger, who also wrote the script for The Ring 2, but not for the new reboot Rings which will be out this October.