With the new horror remake Let Me In having been released a couple weeks ago, I felt it was time to discuss the ongoing trend of remaking old horror films. Remakes are nothing new, but lately studios have been showing a disturbing tendency to remake films that have only been out for a couple years. Let Me In for instance, is the American remake of the Swedish film Let the Right One In, which was released in 2008. Is it necessary to remake a film that has been out for such a short time? Are all remakes awful and unnecessary? Lets take a look...
The last decade has seen an unprecedented number of remakes, far more than most people even realize. This is because hollywood has picked up the habit of remaking relatively new movies from different countries. This trend seemed to emerge after the success of The Ring, based off the Japanese film Ringu, which was released 3 years earlier. The result was an endless stream of awful Asian horror remakes, Such as The Grudge, The Eye, Dark Water, Pulse, and One Missed Call. It seems that American studios have a phobia against subtitles, as many of the original versions of these films were excellent in their own right, and far surpassed their English counterparts. A prime example of this is [REC], an amazing Spanish horror film that was remade shot-for-shot only a year after its release into the mediocre Quarantine. Let Me In seems to be a similar case, being remade solely because the original was in a different language. I cannot rate the film myself because I haven't had the chance to see it, but I have heard some surprisingly good reviews.
Examples like these make it seem as though no movie should ever be remade. Indeed, remakes have been getting an increasingly bad rap lately. However, we cannot forget that some of the greatest horror films ever made were remakes. My personal favorite horror movie, The Thing, is a remake of the 50's film The Thing From Another World. Cronenberg's The Fly and the 80's remake of The Blob were also exceptional films. Sometimes, a remake is a pretty good idea. This only applies, however, to films that are in serious need of an update. 50's movies are prime candidates, because even if the story was well written, the effects of the time were often laughable to the point of detracting from the film. What shouldn't be remade are films that are perfectly fine on their own and have stood the test of time. An alarming number of classic horror films have been remade solely to cash in on the existing franchises. Platinum Dunes is the biggest offender, churning out sub-par "re-imaginings" of all the biggest horror classics, including Friday the 13th, The Amityville Horror, The Hitcher, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Although TCM was a decent remake in my opinion). We also cannot forget Rob Zombie's white trash abomination of a reboot to the Halloween series. These films give their franchises a bad name, and bring down the genre as a whole.
So, are remakes the cancer of the film industry? Is the horror community's hatred of them justified? In my opinion, it is not. Yes, some damage has been done, but many remakes can bring more obscure movies back into the spotlight. For example, Piranha 3D wasn't an amazing movie by any means, but it was entertaining, and prompted new DVD releases of the the original cult classic, which has always been a favorite of mine. And, on occasion, a good film can be remade with a decent outcome. This usually only works if the remake is loosely based on the original, as was the case with Dawn of the Dead (2004). So although the remake craze has caused its fair share of problems, I think it has done at least enough good to make up for it.
I know many people do not share my opinion, so now I leave it to my subscribers to discuss. What do you guys think?