You know what they say about the film industry today: it’s all remakes and superhero movies. While there may be some truth in that reductive statement, not every remake that comes out of Hollywood is vastly inferior to the original film; some in fact very much deserve your attention.
Adaptations of great literature appear every generation, popular franchises are rebooted time after time and blatant remakes of pre-existing films are branded as the laziest and least worthwhile of the lot. When it’s just a case of changing the country the story is set in to allow characters to speak English rather than having to read those pesky subtitles, the lazy tag sticks.
You know what Hollywood should do more of? Remaking bad movies. If you really must remake good movies, make sure you’ve at least got an interesting new take, a new spin on the same material. What exactly was the point in Gus Van Sant’s shot-for-shot colour remake of Psycho? What’s next, re-doing Jaws to feature a more convincing shark?
But quite a few remakes with talented filmmakers behind them and a new angle on familiar material turned out pretty well. What follows is The Film Magazine’s second list of good remakes (head this way for the first).
10. King Kong (2005)
Original: King Kong (1933)
Yes, it’s seriously overlong and somewhat indulgent – you could probably cut 20 minutes out of each act – but Peter Jackson’s take on King Kong (his favourite movie) fascinatingly has as much in common with his early shoestring horror films like Braindead as it does with The Lord of the Rings, with the Skull Island stretch featuring as much icky horror as you can get away with in a 12A (PG-13) film. Crucially, what he and his regular co-writers get spot-on is the central relationship between Anne (Naomi Watts) and Kong (Any Serkis), two outcast loners who find each other and form an unlikely bond.
Recommended for you: The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Movies Ranked
9. Fright Night (2011)
Original: Fright Night (1985)
Fright Night hews pretty closely to the 80s original, but it’s a bit darker and far more self-aware. We follow the always-watchable Anton Yelchin investigating a neighbour he suspects of being a vampire (a genuinely sinister, shark-like Colin Farrell) with Christopher Mintz-Plasse providing comic relief and a hugely entertaining turn coming from David Tennant as a flamboyant Vegas magician/paranormal expert. It’s not particularly groundbreaking, but it is a consistently fun, peppy, splatter-gore filled ride.