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The Ten Best Horror Remakes of All Time

let me in

As I’ve mentioned a few times already this year, horror is a genre that doesn’t get a whole lot of respect. The same goes for remakes in general, so when you discuss horror remakes, you can expect a distant lack of appreciation. Still, there are some gems to be found, and with the release this weekend of a Poltergeist remake, I wanted to count down the best that this sub-genre has to offer. You might think that there’s a complete dearth of quality, but I was able to find a solid handful of titles that make for a more than respectable lineup.

Here now are the ten best horror remakes of all time:

10. Halloween – Not an incredibly popular choice, I know, but my heart has a soft spot within it for this one. I’m honestly not sure why, but I jived with what musician turned writer/director Rob Zombie was doing here. Old fashioned at times, but also very brutal and modern, this was a slasher that worked more than was expected.

9. The Crazies – Most of you have forgotten about this remake by now, but it’s surprisingly tight and effective. Breck Eisner is a mostly anonymous filmmaker in terms of his style and someone you’ll never confuse with George A. Romero, but this was his best work to date. It’s not extraordinary, especially as a pseudo zombie flick, but it manages to still leave a mark.

8. Evil Dead – Is it overly gory? Yes, but there’s a marvel to be had at the mostly practical effects work. It’s also way better than it should have been. Sam Raimi didn’t direct again, but the script (including an uncredited bit of work by Diablo Cody) is on point and once the blood starts flowing, it gets as intense as anything you’ve seen in the genre.

7. Nosferatu the Vampyre – Perhaps best known as what inspired Shadow of the Vampire in a way (which I almost considered cheating to include), this is one of Werner Herzog’s finest moments, if you ask me. Unique and both modern and old fashioned in equal measure, it stands out.

6. The Last House on the Left – One of the best modern remakes, this is both brutal and surprisingly classy. Dennis Iliadis is a director that deserves to work more, considering his masterful grip here. There’s weight to the violence here, which is almost never the case in a film of this ilk. If you’ve never seen it, give it a shot, as you might be pleasantly surprised.

5. Dawn of the Dead – Considering how iconic the original zombie movie was, mixing it up and almost only keeping the setting of a mall turned out to be a terrific decision. Zack Snyder is no Romero, to be sure, but he still turned in his best directorial work to date on this intense and tight flick. It’s so much better than it really had any right to be, so it deserves top five placement.

4. The Fly – One of the first classics on this list, it’s also one of David Cronenberg’s best. Jeff Goldblum is aces, while the look of it is now completely iconic. This is prime material to be remade again, likely in an inferior way, so be sure to appreciate what we have here with this one.

3. Invasion of the Body Snatchers – Another undisputed classic, this one comes from the underrated Phillip Kaufman. This material is often remade, so for this to be really the definitive version (especially held up against the more modern attempt The Invasion), that should mean something. It’s pretty captivating stuff.

2. The Thing – For many, this is the gold standard of horror remakes. John Carpenter is a genius, as we all know, so this functions as one of the best examples of his mastery of the craft. Tremendously scary, thrilling, and effective on all counts, it’s everything that the new remake a few years ago simply wasn’t.

1. Let Me In – A surprise pick, perhaps to some. A lot of my colleagues consider Let the Right One In to be perfect, so Matt Reeves doing an Americanized remake was doubly egregious. Lo and behold, it not only matches that quality, it exceeds it. Especially for Chloe Grace Moritz, this is magnificent. The higher degree of difficulty is what squeaks out the win for this one here. Let Me In stays with you, making it a rare remake that isn’t inherently disposable as well. Bravo.

Check out the Poltergeist remake on Friday!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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