Once More with Feeling: 10 More of the Best Remakes

8. Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Original: Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Zack Snyder’s feature debut is among his best and, tonally at least, takes the zombies-in-a-shopping-mall premise in a different direction from the Romero original. It’s tense, bleak and genuinely scary, with a welcome break for levity in a scene where survivors on adjacent shop rooftops indicate celebrity lookalikes to shoot among the zombie horde. The characters might be broadly drawn, but the actors (including Sarah Polley and Ving Rhames) are charismatic and make you hope for at least some of them to make it out not-undead.

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7. Evil Dead (2013)

Original: The Evil Dead (1981)

Not so much a direct remake as a “reimagining” (semantics really) this take on a cabin-in-the-woods horror gives its teen protagonists more of a credible reason to spend time in an isolated shack. One of their number (Jane Levy) is going cold turkey so needs a break away from civilisation, but of course no one banks on malicious demonic possession replacing her dependence on drugs. Whereas Sam Raimi’s original was shonky and low-budget, made iconic by its inventive sound and cinematography, this is polished and nasty and disturbing in the extremity of its imagery.


6. The Mummy (1999)

Original: The Mummy (1932)

As much of his filmography makes clear, Stephen Sommers is a diehard Universal Horror fan. Fascinated by the original Mummy from an early age, he upped the scale and spectacle and filtered the story through the ever-reliable, knowing prism of Indiana Jones. The VFX look a bit ropy now, but it’s witty, the action is memorable and the production design is top-drawer. The studio quickly realised that the chemistry of the trio of Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz and John Hannah was key to this film’s popularity, so quickly got them back for the sequels.

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