The 5 best and 4 worst horror movie remakes ever

  • Horror classics are frequently remade in Hollywood.

  • Zack Snyder's "Dawn of the Dead" and the 2017 film version of "It" are among the best.

  • The 2013 remake of "Carrie" is one of the worst.

Numerous horror movies have been made — and remade — throughout the years. Not all of them are very good.

Some of the best remakes, like Zack Snyder's "Dawn of the Dead" and the 2017 film version of "It," are almost as good as the originals. But others, including the 2013 remake of "Carrie," weren't worth the effort.

Keep reading for our roundup of the best and worst horror remakes of all time.

BEST: "Dawn of the Dead" (2004)

dawn of the dead
Zack Snyder's remake was a winner.Universal Pictures

Zack Snyder's directorial debut breathes new life into the undead — instead of the slow, shambling zombies of yore, the zombies in Snyder's "Dawn of the Dead" are lightning-fast and vicious. The movie has lots of gore and some seriously twisted surprises, and features solid performances from leads Sarah Polley and Ving Rhames.

Overall, Snyder's "Dawn of the Dead" is a worthy reimagining of George Romero's 1978 film.

BEST: "Let Me In" (2010)

A scene with Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Grace Moretz in "Let Me In."
A scene with Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Grace Moretz in "Let Me In."Saeed Adyani/Overture Films

We've got mixed feelings about American remakes of foreign horror films, but "Let Me In" makes a convincing case for giving English-language versions a chance. The story is basically identical to the 2008 Swedish film "Let the Right One In": a lonely, bullied boy befriends a mysterious girl who moves in next door and seems to have a taste for blood. Their relationship soon grows dangerously codependent.

If not for the nuanced performances of child leads Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Grace Moretz, "Let Me In" would be just another unnecessary remake. And while the plot of the movie follows all the beats of its Swedish predecessor, the onscreen dynamic between Smit-McPhee and Moretz make it worth seeking out.

BEST: "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992)

Gary Oldman as Dracula holding a light
Gary Oldman in Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 movie "Bram Stoker's Dracula."Columbia Pictures.

Of all the Dracula movies that have been made over the years, Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 drama is certainly the most stylish, and probably the most nuanced, too. Coppola fully leans into the mythology of Dracula, who in his movie is revealed to be Vlad the Impaler. Dracula's primary motivation in "Bram Stoker's Dracula" is to reunite with the reincarnated version of his lost love.

By giving the tortured vampire a backstory and a motivation other than blood, Coppola sets his version of "Dracula" apart from past versions. Plus, the stacked cast — Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves, Gary Oldman, and Anthony Hopkins —skillfully put their own spin on the story's familiar characters.

BEST: "It" (2017)

stephen king it
Bill Skarsgård's Pennywise is the stuff of nightmares.Warner Bros.

Tim Curry's portayal of Pennywise the clown in the 1990 "It" miniseries is iconic, but the 2017 film takes the cake when it comes to adaptations of Stephen King's novel. First and foremost, the film is genuinely terrifying. "It" also explores the themes of childhood, loss of innocence, and friendship present in King's book while not taking away from the main events.

And the actors in 2017's "It" do a phenomenal job in bringing King's horrors to life —Bill Skarsgård in particular gives viewers a new interpretation of Pennywise that's singular in its unhinged violence.

BEST: "The Ring" (2002)

samara from the ring
Samara in "The Ring."Paramount Pictures

The Japanese original is incredible, but the English-language version of "The Ring" is just as terrifying, and a worthy jumping off point for those unfamiliar with the story. Naomi Watts stars as a journalist investigating her niece's untimely death, which seems to have come about after she watched a mysterious videotape.

We'd still recommend watching the Japanese original first, but for those who are averse to subtitles or can't access the original, the English version of "The Ring" contains all the twists and terrors of the original.

WORST: "Evil Dead" (2013)

Jane Levy as Deadite Mia in 2013's "Evil Dead."
Jane Levy as Deadite Mia in 2013's "Evil Dead."Sony Pictures Releasing

Part of the appeal of Sam Raimi's 1981 film "The Evil Dead" was the absurd humor and slapstick gags blended in with the bloody terror of the plot — Raimi was apparently a huge fan of "The Three Stooges" and didn't shy away from incorporating comedic aspects into the film.

Unfortunately, the 2013 version of "Evil Dead" has none of the levity of the original to cut the grisly scenes. Instead, it leans heavily into the gore, which isn't necessarily bad if that's your thing, but it lacks the charming insanity of Raimi's version for sure.

WORST: "Suspiria" (2018)

Luca Guadagnino's "Suspiria."Amazon Studios/MUBI

Dario Argento's 1977 film "Suspiria" is one of the best horror films ever made. With stunning visuals and a spooky story, it's hard to understand why someone would want to even attempt to remake an already-iconic horror movie.

"Call Me By Your Name" Luca Guadagnino did just that, and attempted to add in some historical nuance to his remake as well. It's not that the new version is necessarily bad (although some plot changes and the aforementioned historical context make it feel a bit cluttered at times), it's just that the original is so good.

WORST: "Carrie" (2013)

Chloe Grace Moretz as Carrie covered in blood.
Chloë Grace Moretz as Carrie covered in blood.Sony Pictures Releasing

If you're going to remake a beloved classic like "Carrie," you should either have a bold new vision for the story, or the original should have been mediocre enough to warrant a refresh. Unfortunately, the 2013 "Carrie" has neither to work with. Chloë Grace Moretz does her best, but she's no Sissy Spacek. Even Julianne Moore can't save this movie, which just feels like a sad imitation of the 1976 original.

WORST: "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (2003)

Leatherface in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."
Leatherface in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."New Line Cinema

As with the 2013 version of "Carrie," the remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" doesn't add much to the original, which was already remarkably creepy. Instead, it just doubles down on the gore and violence, without building the terrifying tension that made the 1974 film so effective.

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