19 Film Remakes That Were Worse Than The Original

    Sometimes, a film is better left untouched.

    We all know that Hollywood is partial to a remake or a reboot, right? If we look back at the last few years, we've had our fair share, from The Batman (2022) and The Invisible Man (2020) to The Lion King (2019).

    So, when you think of a bad remake, what film first comes to mind? Here's my list of some of the worst out there in the movie world! And yes, you will find that I really have a thing against Hollywood for ruining genuinely amazing foreign films...

    1. Planet of the Apes (2001)

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    First up on the naughty list is director Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes. The movie is a remake of the 1968 film of the same name by Franklin J. Schaffner.

    Sure, the movie looks quite visually striking when compared to its predecessor from many years before, but the strong focus on costumes, makeup, and action means that it fell a bit flat elsewhere. It just lacked the spark of the original, and for a Burton film, you would expect much, much more.

    IMDb rating: 5.7/10

    2. Psycho (1998)

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    In this remake of Hitchcock's 1960 classic, Vince Vaughn plays Norman Bates with the late Anne Heche cast as Marion Crane. 

    If the trailer for the revamped Psycho wasn't enough to put you off, and you, too, have suffered through watching this movie, then you are not alone.

    The problem with this remake is that it is sadly quite abominable. It comes across as the most B-movie B-movie to ever exist, complete with overacting, additional weird scenes, and the ability to turn should-be tension into laugh-out-loud moments.

    IMDb rating: 4.6/10

    3. Carrie (2013)

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    Chlo√ę Grace Moretz¬†stepped into the shoes of Carrie for a remake of Brian De Palma's 1976 classic¬†telling of the Stephen King story.

    While this remake definitely gave it a good go to modernize the film, and the cast is relatively decent in their respective roles, the reason it's still on my list is because it doesn't bring anything worthy to the table. It's one of those unnecessary remakes that, in my mind fades into the background, whilst the original Carrie will forever live rent free in our heads. 

    You just can't beat the sheer terror, panic, embarrassment, and dark emotions conveyed by Sissy Spacek in that era. ... Her skills and the sheer grittiness of the original will always outshine a reboot.

    IMDb rating: 5.8/10

    4. The Fog (2005)

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    In 1980, John Carpenter's The Fog was released, and you guessed it, it follows a fog terrorizing a small coastal town.

    Skip forward to 2005, and that same fog is haunting humanity in the reboot. Now, given that Carpenter is actually credited as a producer on the remake, I still don't know how the film ended up being this disastrous. The characters have barely any personality so you don't care what happens to them either way (never a good start), and it trades the original atmospheric eeriness for the generic teen slasher tropes. 

    The first Fog knew what it was and what it wanted to be, but the second Fog was a pointless endeavor overall.

    IMDb rating: 3.7/10

    5. Ghost in the Shell (2017)

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    The 2017 sci-fi film Ghost in the Shell saw Scarlett Johansson take the leading role as Major. It is a reboot of the popular 1995 anime film of the same name.

    Don't get me wrong, this one isn't actually that unenjoyable. The visuals are pretty cool, and you can kind of get lost in the live-action interpretation of a Pan-Asian metropolis; plus, you can't knock Johansson for the effort she always puts in as an actor.

    That said, it's got nothing on the original! It doesn't have the same flair, and I think it gets a bit lost with the source material (which is the manga of the same name). That's why I think it's a pretty poor adaptation ‚ÄĒ if a reboot doesn't stand out, then what's the point of it?

    IMDb rating: 6.3/10

    (It's worth noting that at the time of its release, the film was also subject to a lot of controversy due to its casting. There are many mixed feelings about this, so this could have impacted its overall rating, too).

    6. Bangkok Dangerous (2008)

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    The original Thai film, Bangkok Dangerous, was released in 2000, and a mere eight years later, Hollywood decided to revamp the film and bring in Nicolas Cage as the lead. The weird thing, though, is that both films had the same directors (the Pang Brothers), and yet, the remake was still a bit off.

    In the original, the lead character was a deaf-mute hitman, but they stripped these unique features for the remake, so instantly, the character wasn't as compelling. Mix that in with overall mediocre performances, and you'll find yourself constantly asking why there was any need for a remake in the first place?!

    IMDb rating: 5.3/10

    7. Robin Hood (2018)

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    We've had a fair few Robin Hood remakes over the years, and sadly, the 2018 retelling is possibly one of the worst. 

    It stars Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx, two actors I actually quite enjoy watching to be honest! I also quite liked the idea of the film being updated, bringing in a few more contemporary tropes, but it just didn't work well in the final product. 

    It's an unnecessary run time for a film of this kind; plus, it offers a poor script and feels more like a parody than it was clearly meant to be.

    IMDb rating: 5.3/10

    8. The Karate Kid (2010)

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    The classic martial arts drama that is The Karate Kid originally came out in 1984. Fast-forward to 2010, and the remake of the film stars Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan.

    The casting is quite good, and the new setting of China is an appealing background, but I felt the film brought in too many typical Hollywood tropes to tell the modernized story. Mainly, the main kid is forced to leave his hometown after his parents' divorce (an obvious move in a film like this). 

    It also doesn't help that the budding martial arts pupil feels much younger than in the original film, so I never felt convinced that he really wanted to apply the "serenity and maturity" approach to his entire life, you know?!

    Overall, I was just a bit bored watching this remake.

    IMDb rating: 6.2/10

    9. Martyrs (2015)

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    The original French film, Martyrs, is possibly one of the most disturbing films I have ever watched. It's incredibly graphic but always stands out to me as being really clever and genuinely traumatic.

    Martyrs felt like a one-of-a-kind film that you just wouldn't even want to replicate. So, of course, Blumhouse Productions remade the film in 2015 and absolutely annihilated it. At first it seems like a shot-for-shot remake, which still doesn't offer the same kind of rawness, and then, it completely does itself over with trying to change the story and go in a different direction.

    The remake just couldn't deliver anything like the original did, and it's not worth your time.

    IMDb rating: 4/10

    10. Cold Pursuit (2019)

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    I don't know why, and I'm not sure if it's just me that thinks this, but I always view Liam Neeson as the Northern Irish version of Nicolas Cage, lol. It's like, you know exactly what you're going to get, how the storyline is going to go, and the acting is a little predictable (sorry). 

    So, Cold Pursuit is a remake of the Norwegian action thriller film In Order of Disappearance and is about a snowplow driver who seeks revenge after his son is murdered. This is another film on the list in which the same director (Hans Petter Moland) did both the original and remake.

    Moland Americanized the story by changing key aspects of it to suit the culture at that time, but overall, I thought it was quite similar, and I genuinely can't see any benefits by having another version of the same film to watch.

    IMDb rating: 6.2/10

    11. The Heartbreak Kid (2007)

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    The Heartbreak Kid is a 2007 revamp of the 1972 rom-com, starring Ben Stiller Malin Akerman, and Michelle Monaghan.

    I'll start by saying, I like Ben Stiller, and usually, his films are genuinely funny if you like that kind of humor. When it comes to The Heartbreak Kid, though, it's just not funny, and that pretty much kills the entire vibe when remaking a good comedy. It also doesn't help that Stiller and Akerman's characters are both unpleasant, so whilst the film leads you to root for Stiller, it's actually impossible to.

    IMDb rating: 5.8/10

    12. The Wicker Man (2006)

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    I'm not intending to be mean when I say this, but the revamped Wicker Man has got to be one of the most laughable remakes to ever exist, ever. 

    Don't get me wrong, the original Wicker Man has its quirks, but it somehow works because it still delivers genuinely memorable chills with a great performance from Christopher Lee. The remake is just absolutely hilarious (completely unintentional, by the way), and Cage's performance is probably one of his most overacted stints yet. 

    On that note, I will leave you with the infamous line...NOT THE BEES!

    IMDb rating: 3.7/10

    13. Annie (2014)

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    It's a hard knock watch, er, life. This remake of the 1982 film of the same name is yet another one that just doesn't cut it.

    I'll be honest, I'm not really a lover of the Annie films anyways; I always found the character and the whole story annoying (sorry), but the remake is my idea of cringing, cliché-ing, Auto-Tune hell. It's also a film that tries so hard to not be like the original, it may have had a better chance of just being a like-for-like modernized version.

    IMDb rating: 5.3/10

    14. Oldboy (2013)

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    The Old Boy remake has always been a real bugbear of mine. I love Park Chan-wook's films so much, from their originality to indulgence in characters and the narrative; like, seriously, he is SO good. For me, the original Oldboy is one of the best foreign films to have been made...a tough act to follow!

    I also quite like Spike Lee and Josh Brolin, so you think I'd be okay with the remake. But no, it's just all over the place, and it doesn't capture the strangely delirious energy of the original. Plus, I can't get over the fact that this is one narrative that can't be retold without losing the initial emphasis...unfortunately, Lee is at a disadvantage, because any fans of the original will never ever experience the initial jaw-dropping shock we experienced when the end of the original played out.

    IMDb rating: 5.8/10

    15. Black Christmas (2019)

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    The original Black Christmas is a Canadian slasher film, and one that Blumhouse Productions had a stab at remaking. 

    The revamped version amplifies the very slightly touched on feminist themes of the original, whilst also trying to keep some atmospheric scare scenes to keep you on edge. The thing is, the 1974 version is one of the earlier slasher films, so it's always going to win on the originality front, and the same goes for the plot twist at the end when we find out more about the killer. 

    The remake naturally lost the good bits of the original, and made the big mistake to bring in supernatural elements, instead of keeping the reality that it's more terrifying to have a real person as an ambiguous killer stalking you in your own home.

    IMDb rating: 4.6/10

    16. One Missed Call (2008)

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    The original Japanese One Missed Call was subject to an American remake five years later in 2008. 

    The new version doesn't part much from the original, and includes a lot of the same characters and scenes, with references throughout. However, those same characters lack any personality and feel incredibly dumbed down, and the film is let down by the typical problems I see in J-horror remakes; namely, swapping what J-horror is good at for a bit of Hollywood special effects and predictable jump scares. The remake totally misses the actual real building of tension that Asian horror is great at conveying, and it doesn't land the feeling of genuine terror from something you can't see. 

    IMDb rating: 4/10

    17. Straw Dogs (2011)

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    Though the original Straw Dogs came out in 1971, I still find it quite a shocking and disturbing watch. It's transgressively violent and offers a terrifying portrayal of men essentially invading a home and the subsequent consequences of that on all characters. It's a hard-hitting watch, so when the film was remade in 2011, it felt like a risky move.

    The core structure is still there in the remake, and if it wasn't a remake, it may have been "okay" as a standalone film if the content was fresh at the time of release. In the end, though, it completely loses the psychological tension that we felt when watching the original, it feels a bit miscast in comparison, and the whole thing feels too contrived.

    IMDb rating: 5.8/10

    18. Ben-Hur (2016)

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    The 2016 adaptation of Ben-Hur is the fifth re-telling of the 1880 novel, with the 1959 version considered the ultimate classic. All in all, the remake is a disaster complete with terrible CGI, overzealous editing, and it totally fails in its efforts to try and be a big blockbuster action film. For a film following a story that has been clearly laid out over time, it somehow managed to spoil that and interrupt the flow in its attempts to showcase a feat of Hollywood effects.

    IMDb rating: 5.7/10

    19. Fame (2009)

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    Last, but by no means least, on this not-so-nice list is the 2009 remake of Fame which is based on the 1980 film. 

    This is a really weird and just awful remake to watch because it has this cringy desire to want to feel like High School Musical, whilst trying to follow the same formula as its predecessor. Yet, it decisively avoids any of the real grit and quite devastating events that made the original so good. It's one remake I just can't understand at all!

    IMDb rating: 5/10

    So, there you have it! You have my thoughts on the worst remakes around, but what other remakes would make your list?