Horror movies usually come in a series, and whether it’s a never-ending saga of Saw films or an attempt to reboot a cult classic franchise like Child’s Play, sometimes the reboots just simply miss the mark.
However, for every unnecessary reboot of a movie with hundreds of sequels, there are a few that land in equality with their predecessors. Here a just a few that have cracked the code.
Evil Dead (2013)
It’s a big take to reboot the classic Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell horror series The Evil Dead, but the 2013 version filled the giant shoes with appropriate blessings from the creators, and created a reboot that was not only gruesome and scary, but extremely true to the horror experience viewers felt in 1981.
A group of teens go to an old cabin in the woods to help their friend Mia overcome addiction, only to discover a book bound in human flesh and inked in blood. Reading from the book, in the same way Ash and his friends were compelled to in the ’80s, results in a series of horrifying attacks as the dead take over the group one by one.
Featuring epic versions of scenes from the classic films, such as the chainsaw hand, the peeking of the Deadites through the cellar door and the blood rain, 2013’s Evil Dead took what was already epic in the original version and turned it up to 11.
Blair Witch (2016)
Not-quite-sequels-not-quite-reboots have become extremely popular nowadays, and the 2016 version of Blair Witch took firm hold of that handle and created something that was almost on par with the 1999 original, The Blair Witch Project.
Set years after the tapes detailing the missing Heather and her friends were found, Heather’s brother James decides to go into the woods to find out what happened to his sister. Recording the group’s adventures along the way, they soon come under attack by the Blair Witch’s spells, which merges with the storyline of the original Blair Witch with a few new scares.
2016’s Blair Witch ends up terrifying as the characters try to escape the haunting presence of the witch herself, with the creepy twig icons appearing in the night, the shifts in time, and the final race through the witch’s house. It meets both reboot and sequel perfectly, and keeps you uncomfortable long after you leave the cinema.
Another not-quite-a-sequel-not-quite-a-reboot, the 2017 film Jigsaw follows a detective as he discovers bodies dismembered in his area and evidence that points to the original Saw creator and mastermind John Kramer, who has been dead for years. Created with the similar Saw traps and twists, Jigsaw does a tremendous job at keeping the original feel in the reboot, while opening up the setting to start on a new pathway in the modern era.
This came at a perfect time, as a trailer has recently been released for the actual Saw reboot Spirals, starring and produced by comedian Chris Rock and also starring Samuel L Jackson in what appears to be a role he might actually die in. It’s both a reboot and a continuation of the Jigsaw and Saw franchise, and the move into reboot zone is smooth and well-constructed. Jigsaw is probably one of the most well-thought-out reboot/sequels out there.
Fantasy Island (2020)
The ’70s TV show of the same name was given a horror slice for the 2020 version of the movie, and it turned out to be one of the most perfect classic horror reboots every made! When five people win a chance to play out their ultimate fantasies on a mysterious island (and they “coincidentally” fit into the classic horror stereotypes without being over the top about it) they soon discover that they are actually all connected and are in one revenge fantasy.
The twists that emerge within the movie are so perfectly curated that you don’t see the twist coming until it is being set up two minutes before the reveal, and the characters create a perfect call back to the original TV show, with Michael Peña playing the embodiment of mysterious island keeper Mr. Roarke.
Not quite a reboot of a horror movie, but a similar Fantasy Island-style reboot as a take on a piece of popular culture, comes 2019’s Brightburn. What is the actual likelihood of a superhuman child coming to Earth and then deciding to save it from the perils of the universe? Honestly, the odds are probably very slim, even with a good upbringing.
2019’s Brightburn is a look at the alternate Superman, focusing on a child with superhuman abilities who starts to manifest a powerful darkness within himself that he cannot control, and cannot help but act upon.
This dark, bloody movie is near perfection and features one of the most horrific and epic death scenes ever. Starring Elizabeth Banks, David Denman and Jackson A. Dunn, Brightburn is the anti-hero horror movie we all need.
IT Chapter One (2017) and Chapter Two (2019)
The most recent take on Stephen King’s incredibly popular novel has been met with outstanding applause, and it is very right to have done so! Taking its inspiration from both the novel and the 1990 TV mini-series that starred Tim Curry as the evil Pennywise, acting alum Bill Skarsgard takes the role in absolute style with his actual ability to move his eyes in two directions at once, and his menacing crazy persona.
The 2017 and 2019 reboots were highly anticipated and with good reason. The actors that were chosen to play both the adults and the kids in different time eras lined up so well you could easily believe you were watching the same people living different times in their lives. With modern movie-making magic available, the evil clown got even more terrifying and dark and rightly cemented itself in history as a perfect remake.