Horror remakes. Love them or hate them, they keep rising from the dead.
Has there been another director who has had their movies remade as much as George Romero? Perhaps, but when it comes to horror, he may take the cake.
Over the years there have been many, and I’ve chosen three that I feel are the cream of the bloody crop. Who will come out victorious among them?
It’s a zombie (sort of) feed for all. Let’s see:
Night of the Living Dead (1990- Tom Savini)
This remake which Romero rewrote is a movie I had on VHS at a young age and fell for immediately. It’s fittingly directed by the horror makeup/effects master Tom Savini and stars Tony Todd as Ben and Patricia Tallman as Barbara, our protagonists for the undead proceedings.
It follows similar beats as the original but is dressed in a 90s style and a larger budget. The film moves fast, more rapidly than our attackers, starting from the iconic scene of Barbara and her brother being attacked in a graveyard, to her finding a house to hide away from the dead who have risen.
There she meets other survivors who hole up, without transportation. Of course, there is some discourse among them, with warring personalities that have different ideas about what should be done. What’s worse: the monster outside or within?
This sequel relishes the love of practical effects and promotes plenty of scares within the confined space. Savini’s look and feel translated to corpses from the beyond dusty, dirty, and mindlessly driven.
Night of the Living Dead is a remake that may have not been necessary but is an enjoyable revisit to what makes the living dead frightening, and endlessly reanimated.
As well as those still breathing.
Dawn of the Dead (Zach Snyder)
Let’s live in a mall.
Dawn of the Dead is a rare sort of remake wonder as it gives a respectful nod to the original but still finds its own exemplified, gory, identity.
In a frenzied and heart-racing intro, we follow Ana (Sarah Polley) as she narrowly escapes the bite of her recently deceased, reanimated husband. Hysteria happens fast as the quiet suburbia that she resides in becomes a feeding ground for the flesh-craving creatures.
Zach Synder (in what I may argue as his best) directs this group of survivors who find shelter in their local mall as zombies ravage the world outside.
Kenneth (Ving Rhames) and Michael (Jake Weber) are among the others that form their own offbeat family inside the shopping center. Not a bad place to ride out the impending apocalypse, but, eventually you’ve got to leave. Right?
Its satirical but blood-soaked grin of a script comes alive with a smattering of jokes and a splattering of carcasses.
Dawn of the Dead provides new digs for the Romero classic, with heightened energy and gory thrills.
The Crazies (Breck Eisner)
Timothy Olyphant is nearly reason enough for this dicey endeavor, but Breck Eisner’s The Crazies has a lot to offer in this disturbing delight.
After a government plane (housing some insidious chemicals) crashes into the town’s water supply, the people of Ogden Marsh find themselves driven to madness.
Sheriff Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) and his wife Dr. Judy (Radha Mitchell) are forced to fight for their lives, as they come to terms with the fact that their quiet life faces destruction.
The film is gorgeously shot which makes for some intriguing dissimilarities as the characters take some depraved dives.
The Crazies is a visually attuned reimagining that doesn’t slack on lunacy or acting chops.
And the winner is…
Tough choice, so the real suggestion is: watch all three!