While we have previously highlighted 10 movie remakes that are much better than the original, the truth is that there are far more examples of inferior movie remakes than there are superior. Arguments about Hollywood’s lack of creativity aside, it’s simply hard to improve upon a film that already works. It’s also not easy to improve upon a film that doesn’t work, either. And while it seems a little unfair for a remake to be compared endlessly to the film from which it was based, the question remains: shouldn’t a remake be better than its predecessor? Isn’t that the entire point?
If the goal of a remake is to improve upon the original film, it becomes clear that any film being remade from an already great film is in significant trouble from the start. But when a well-regarded film is being remade with additional misfires from filmmakers and actors, it can be a recipe for disaster. Here are ten of the worst movie remakes of all time, most of which should have exhibited red flags from the very start.
1. Psycho (1998)
Often hailed as the worst movie remake of all time, Gus Van Sant’s 1998 remake of Psycho is train wreck of epic proportions, bolstered by the classic status of the original 1960 film by Alfred Hitchcock. The film is even more puzzling given Van Sant’s considerable skills as a director, which seemingly went out the window for this specific project.
While remakes are often criticized as being unnecessary, Van Sant’s Psycho pushes that argument into unusual territory. Sure, the 1998 version is in color, features a different cast, and sets the film in modern times, but Van Sant chose to remake the film in nearly shot-for-shot remake, using most of Hitchcock’s camera angles, camera movements, and editing techniques making it seem even more unnecessary than it already was.
Roger Ebert explained it best, writing, “The movie is an invaluable experiment in the theory of cinema, because it demonstrates that a shot-by-shot remake is pointless; genius apparently resides between or beneath the shots, or in chemistry that cannot be timed or counted.” Psycho holds a 37 percent Fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes, but that number would surely plummet if there were more critics to show for.