It's the Booze Talkin: Remakes and sequels can be great in the right hands!

For many, the word remake or sequel usually meant a pathetic cash grab to entice fans to continue to pour money into a crappy franchise. There have always been exceptions, but even today when you hear “remake/reboot” there is a faint scent of disgust. Frankly, this bad reputation was certainly earned. I can think of a number of horrendous remakes that include THE FOG, BLACK X-MAS, THE HITCHER, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and so many other nightmarishly bad retreads. The same can be said for awful sequels. However, there seems to be a shift in Hollywood when it comes to revisiting familiar characters and stories. This year alone some of my most anticipated movies happen to fall into either a sequel or reboot category. What’s the difference between now and a few years back? Perhaps they are simply trying harder to approach the right talent for the job.

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Recently it was revealed that Jordan Peele may be in talks to revamp the classic thriller CANDYMAN, based on Clive Barker’s short “The Forbidden.” The original film - stylishly directed by Bernard Rose - featured Tony Todd as the nightmarish title character and Virginia Madsen as the woman he haunts. The 1992 feature was a fantastic example of smart horror, and it was also one that offered a couple of less than stellar sequels that include CANDYMAN: FAREWELL TO THE FLESH in 1995 and CANDYMAN: DAY OF THE DEAD in 1999. Considering the magic act that a comedic voice gave to a thriller like GET OUT, I’d be more than curious as to what Jordan could bring to the spooky urban legend, especially since the film also hints at race and intolerance.

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Today, it seems some of those behind the scenes folks are realizing that the right talent can give new life to a familiar property. When it comes to continuing a story, the good folks behind the similarly haunted horrors of OUIJA and ANNABELLE amped up the scares. Considering both of the original films were so uninspired and lazy, each new film went the prequel route. David F. Sandberg (LIGHTS OUT) gave that creepy Annabelle doll an impressive follow-up with ANNABELLE: CREATION. And the same can be said with Mike Flanagan’s OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL. Both sequels started from the beginning, and each one featured a young cast (Lulu Wilson is also the star in each film). And the final product was far better than the feature films that they followed.

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One remake that I particularly enjoyed wasn’t so much the same movie as the original, but more of a different story in that particular world. Fede Alvarez made a surprisingly impactful continuation with EVIL DEAD. This gruesome tale was suspenseful and sometimes almost excruciatingly intense and brutal. And after doing something original with the fantastic DON’T BREATH, he is back taking on a familiar story with THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB which is a continuation of the Lisbeth Salander character based on the Millennium series of books by Stieg Larsson. Yesterday, I attended a preview for the new take on the characters that audiences enjoyed in THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, and frankly I was blown away by what I witnessed.

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Perhaps this is a bit of a renaissance. We are seeing quite a few filmmakers that have had incredible original material - many from backgrounds far from genre - getting their chance to scare audiences. This year alone we have an apparent reinvention of SUSPIRIA directed by Luca Guadagnino, the man behind the critically acclaimed CALL ME BY YOUR NAME. And would anybody have ever guessed that the guy who made such eclectic movies as ALL THE REAL GIRLS and PINEAPPLE EXPRESS would be the dude you trust with a new HALLOWEEN movie? What’s most exciting is that the word of mouth for both is extremely positive. And frankly, everything I’ve seen for these upcoming features - as well as the less genre, more action THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB - has made me all the more excited to see what the filmmakers have to offer.

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Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but remakes and sequels work when placed in the right hands. It can be a tricky thing to reinvent a character or a familiar story. Like anything else, making a movie is hard whether you are selling an established franchise or not. That said, you get the right writer and director involved, you may have something special. It’s a rare thing indeed when I find that I’m looking forward to yet another HALLOWEEN flick. And when I first heard about a SUSPIRIA remake I cringed at the idea. Now, after the excellent trailer for both films, I'm fully on board for the terrors they appear to bring. This is not to say that I’ve fully embraced the idea that all movies could or should be remade (they shouldn’t), but I’ve become a little more hopeful at the prospect.

Extra Tidbit: What do you think? Are we seeing a shift in how producers treat franchise films?
Source: AITH



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