They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery. That certainly does explain the number of film remakes, reboots, and reimaginings. Sometimes it's a well-known movie property, and other times it's a foreign film that saw success in their home countries before Hollywood came a callin'. And while movies seldom live up to their foreign cousins, there are the occasional success stories. Here are three of them.
Let Me In (Let the Right One In, Sweden)
Let Me In, the American remake of the chilling Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In, follows the same premise as the original. A socially awkward young boy befriends a young girl who recently moved into his apartment complex. And wouldn't you know it, in both films the girl turns out to be a vampire. While Let Me In doesn't deviate much from the original character motivations or plot, director Matt Reeves’ stylish, gritty filmmaking style elevates Let Me In from a simple retread to a scary, tense, and ultimately tragic love story.
The Ring (Ringu, Japan)
Arguably the greatest horror remake of all time is The Ring. Like its predecessor, Ringu presents the victims with a cryptic seven-day timetable via phone call after said victims watch a certain VHS tape. The countdown helps rack up the tension in both films, but the monochromatic imagery and special effects sees The Ring pull ahead of the original. Aside from being a phenomenal remake, The Ring ushered in a wave of Asian horror movie remakes and copycats. And though some did see a fair amount of success, none of them managed to capture the American zeitgeist like The Ring.
Vanilla Sky (Open Your Eyes, Spain)
If you’ve never seen Vanilla Sky or the original Spanish version, Open Your Eyes, we’re not going to ruin either film here. Both films follow the same trajectory throughout, with the Tom Cruise-led Vanilla Sky elevating the material with a stellar cast, brilliant direction, and much larger scope. How much larger? Director Cameron Crowe completely shut down Times Square to shoot one scene of Tom Cruise running down the empty streets. Now that’s a serious flex.
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