Sequels get a bad wrap. They always have. Audiences are often underwhelmed by the second entry, or third, or even the seventh entry in a film franchise. In a one-off film, characters go through a major developmental arc, but sometimes it’s more difficult to do that twice. While the great sequels change the character arc entirely, like Terminator 2 and The Godfather: Part 2, not all films can do that. Otherwise it wouldn’t be special. Most sequels have to try to advance the character through new situations. Not too new, or else it loses the feel of the original. Too similar and it feels like a retread. It’s a sticky situation.
When it comes to horror, it’s even more difficult. Horror movies get roasted by critics on the daily. While almost every animated film that has ever been made is rated on par with the greatest movies of all time, a horror movie getting a positive rating is cause for celebration. When a horror sequel is released, critics have a scowl on their face before they’ve even sat in their seats. They need to be blown away in order to impressed at all. That’s why you have the really good, and then pretty much everything else.
But not me. That’s not the way I watch horror. I like horror movies, and I like horror sequels, so I give them the benefit of the doubt. There are a few things I look for in a sequel. I want the atmosphere to be similar to the original. I want to see some throwbacks to what’s come before, nods to the greats and twists that tease my expectations. Here are 15 of the best horror sequels.
15 Hellbound: Hellraiser 2
14 Paranormal Activity 3
13 Final Destination 2
12 Troll 2
11 The Devil's Rejects
10 Scream 4
9 Conjuring 2
8 Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
7 28 Weeks Later
6 Scream 2
5 Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Warriors
4 Friday the 13th Part 2
2 Dawn of the Dead
1 Evil Dead II
Making a silly movie and hoping people accept it for what you intended it to be is a difficult game to play, but one that Sam Raimi played and hit out of the ballpark. Evil Dead II is essentially a slap-stick remake of the more straightforward horror movie Evil Dead. The effects are overdone, the acting is campy and the premise is a sillier version of the first installment, but it’s a monumental success. Bruce Campbell seems like he was made for campy performances, just about as good as you can get. There’s still enough horror in the film to make viewers uneasy, but it always loosens up the mood with hilarity around every corner. People often get confused with dark comedy, when to laugh and when not to. Stop overthinking it. If it looks silly and makes you laugh, laugh. There are no rules.
Sources: Wikipedia; Rotten Tomatoes; IMDB
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