Remaking the Asian Horror Film*

                  Since the turn of the new millennium, the American film industry has apparently had an awful hard time coming up with original ideas for the horror genre. Instead, we have decided to steal ideas from Asian films. I am sure the absurdity of this movement will become quite clear as I continue if it is not already obvious.

         Frankly, this entire trend revolves around Americans being lazy--too lazy to bring original films to America because Americans are too lazy to read subtitles or deal with dubbing. Also, the shocking nature of these films guarantees an audience which, in turn, guarantees DVD and merchandise sales. Based on these facts, we can assume that this movement of uninspired film makers is primarily based around making money, and lots of it.

         How do these films succeed in the box office? None of these remakes have received tremendous critical acclaim. The film makers simply stamp out a duplicate of an already made film, change language and location, and soup it up with more scary jumps and snazzy special effects. What are we gaining from this lack of originality?

         This all began in 2002 with the release of The Ring, directed by Gore Verbinski. This film is a remake of the Japanese version called Ringu, directed by Hideo Nakata, released in 1998. As many others have said, I believe the original to be completely superior to its remake.

         Two years later we see the release of The Grudge, directed by Takashi Shimizu. It is based on a film called Ju-On (2003). Strangely, this remake uses the same director as the original film. What is it that causes a film maker to re-release his own work for a completely different culture? Or better yet, how much does it cost?

         In America, the success of a film insists a sequel. In this business you must continually feed the monkey, right? That is what our wonderful film makers have done with these films. Now we have to sit through two of these mediocre films. No thanks. I shall stay home.

         However, I would like to state that I am not completely against remaking films. I believe there have been some outstanding contemporary views on classic films. Perhaps these films should have been remade when they are actually “classics.”

Brant Veal

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