The news has just hit that Michael Bay is producing a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, a movie that by all appearances needed to be remade as much as Psycho, and we all know how that turned out.
In lieu of that, we thought it was our civic duty to list the 6 most reviled, unnecessary, and shitty remakes perpetrated by Michael Bay and his production studio, Platinum Dunes.
1.) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
For me — but not for Drew — The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the least egregious of all the Platinum Dunes remakes, even if it led to the utterly forgettable sequel, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. [Shudder]
When asked why remake Massacre, Michael Bay, in an interview with IGN, stated,
I thought the title was instantly grabbing and I wanted to make the true story of the Texas chainsaw massacre. It’s a great title and it’s something that you can do very cheaply. We did. We made this movie for 9 million dollars.
It’s that phrase ‘true story’ that gets me, as if he were blessed with the ability to improve upon what is largely considered one of the best horror movies of all-time.
It is perhaps that bravado which gives me pause, overall, about this version of TCSM. If there is a really relevant criticism, beyond the necessary / unnecessary argument we could devolve into, it’s that Bay’s Platinum Dunes took what was a documentary-ish take on a horror movie and turned it into a glossy photo of a thing. All of the real, existential dread that first movie creates is gone, replaced by some hot-ass young actors from WB shows and whatnot. For those reasons, it very well could be considered a disgrace.
2.) The Hitcher
Slightly lower on the scale — and probably even a less necessary remake than some other horror movies — I’m looking at you, Prom Night — The Hitcher‘s only real redeeming quality is a spot-on crazy performance by Ned Stark himself.
Sophia Bush doesn’t quite nail it as the gender-reversed heroine of the film, but I have to say I dug her in One Tree Hill. (A very dark time in my life, guys.)
The biggest problem with the remake is not that it was totally worthless; it was that it was totally uninspired. The movie did not address the same kind of darkness that the first film did, and it also doesn’t quite give the characters enough to do. The result is a kind of listless, by-the-book horror flick, one that hits the notes but plays them in the way that makes your head kind of do that dog-whistle thing. There are worse offenders on this list, however.
3.) The Amityville Horror
Oh, boy. Here we go. We’re starting to get to the heart of this thing now. The Amityville Horror is, well, it’s a movie. It’s a movie with a plot and a script and some shirtless moments featuring Ryan Reynolds’s eight pack.
For my money, The Amityville Horror wasn’t a very good movie to begin with. It was boring and yet salacious, all based on (what I think to be) a hoax from the 70s, perpetrated by the Lutz family and Jay Anson, the book’s author. I only think the movie is considered a classic because of the overwhelming response to the book as “true.” Take that away from it, and the goddamn thing is just another 70s ghost story. The opening scene kickass, however.
The fact that the original wasn’t so great makes the remake all the more bewildering. I guess it’s that weird paradox: you should only remake movies that didn’t quite hit their mark. The Amityville Horror, though, was an acclaimed bad movie, so it almost makes it worse to see the damned thing brought back to the big screen.
4.) Friday the 13th
I have some pretty complicated feelings for the reboot / sequel / mishmash of the 2009 Friday movie. It’s not altogether bad for parts of it, and for other parts it is indescribably bad.
It’s almost impossible to discuss it, though, because it feels like three or four separate movies, all rolled into one s’more-y mess. You’ve got the prologue — totally unnecessary — and what I’ll call the ‘pot-and-sex’ sequence — enjoyable but not crucial — and the movie proper — awful.
Again, I don’t necessarily believe the original Friday is a piece of art — or even on par with, say, TCSM, but the back half of this flick is nigh-upon unwatchable to me for some reason. I don’t know if it’s the weird, meandering storyline, or the completely throwaway cutout excuses for characters, but there’s something ineffably terrible about the last, what, thirty minutes — hour? — of this movie.
Also, Jason becomes a sort of hermit hobbit, complete with underground tunnels, and I just could abide it. It felt like a really bad TCSM redux for me — same director — so even though it pains me to say, I think I have to insist that another remake / reboot be brought forward to the jury of our moviegoing peers ASAP.
5.) A Nightmare on Elm Street
Bad, terrible, unwatchable garbage. It’s silly in all the ways it shouldn’t have been, and it was overly violent to compensate. This movie had none of the spirit or even slight self-consciousness of the first movie. It’s “just a remake,” and the lack of creativity only makes me furious that we couldn’t get a series of Freddy movies as portrayed by Jackie Earle Haley, whom I have dug since The Bad News Bears but really latched onto with Little Children and Watchmen.
HOWEVER, even with the abysmal critical response to the film, the $60 million or so in domestic gross makes it roughly the 8th highest-grossing slasher flick of all-time.
6.) The Birds
Let’s go ahead and throw this one in with the others, because we know it’s going to be dogshit, don’t we?