10 Failed Horror Movie Remakes That Could've Been Amazing

These classics were so close to getting some great retellings.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 Nancy Freddy Wall
Warner Bros.

Remaking a classic film is a bit of a poisoned chalice. A chance to bring a forgotten story to a new audience, yes, but you're immediately putting your work in direct comparison with something a lot of people love.

For every Dune and Casino Royale, there are at least a dozen failed do-overs that have left black marks against the legacies of their originals, and the world of horror is no exception. You can count the number of good horror remakes on a very low number of hands, but the only thing worse than a bad remake is one that had the potential to be good, but flopped.

The following ten revamped tales all stood a decent chance of breaking that curse, but for whatever reason, ended up crashing and burning on the pile like everything else. You'd have thought, with so many reboots suffering this grizzly fate, studios would learn their lessons and instead take risks on new IPs instead.

Unfortunately, this is Hollywood, so don't expect anything to change and for the next decade to be full of nothing but attempts to reignite the Hellraiser franchise.

10. Jacob’s Ladder (2019)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 Nancy Freddy Wall
Vertical Entertainment

The original Jacob's Ladder from 1990 saw Tim "I Just Crawled Through A Sewer Pipe" Robbins play an American soldier in Vietnam who, after his platoon comes under attack, finds himself in an alternate version of New York. This leads to some bizarre and highly unsettling moments, all of which are tied together masterfully by director Adrian Lyne to create a film that is high concept without ever being confusing.

Though not a commercial smash, Jacob's Ladder has maintained a strong following. Its influence can be felt all over pop culture, with the Silent Hill video game franchise, the Asylum series of American Horror Story, and the song Nightmare by Avenged Sevenfold all taking inspiration from Lyne's work.

So, when a remake was released in 2019, hopes were high that this hidden gem might finally get the mainstream recognition it deserved. Spoiler, it didn't.

The new Jacob's Ladder, which was directed by David M. Rosenthal and cast Michael Ealy in the Robbins role, was a jumbled, uncoordinated mess, lacking any of the tact that made the first film so compelling.

Less of a ladder, more of a child's step.


Jacob Simmons has a great many passions, including rock music, giving acclaimed films three-and-a-half stars, watching random clips from The Simpsons on YouTube at 3am, and writing about himself in the third person.