Reboots that are simultaneously sequels are quite common to find in recent years. It’s even got to the point where some people have given it a special term: the requel. In theory, they are good ideas, primarily because they give the audience some kind of automatic attachment. Unfortunately, these have become a problem. A lack of care and execution is ruining these sequel reboots, and this especially applies to the horror genre.
Horror requels play out like this: someone takes a franchise and a legacy character then creates a sequel using brand-new characters. For the most part, the requel has tarnished the legacy of some of our most beloved horror franchises. The reason I say they have tarnished the prequel is that they try to do too many things at once. The David Gordon Green Halloween trilogy started off incredibly well. Then Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends became less about Michael Myers and Laurie Strode and more about social commentary on mob mentality and copycat killers. Which is fine, but not for a horror franchise that already has a legacy behind it.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Scream suffer from the same fate. The former is just a lazy film with a social commentary that doesn’t come from a good place. Critiquing something like gentrification in a film about cannibal hillbillies is not done in good faith. You’re almost giving an excuse for the murders, which is just odd. Meanwhile, the latter makes the mistake of turning Sydney, Dewey, and Gale into backdrop characters. I understand that these movies need new plots and new characters. But if you can’t find a way to bring these legacy characters to the forefront, don’t use them at all.
It’s not at all difficult to see how we got here. The gore porn and torture film era of the 2000s felt like a last-ditch effort to save the genre. That is when studios heavily started to reinvest in rebooting and bringing back some iconic films that thankfully were very good. The 2009 Friday the 13th and the 2013 Evil Dead are without a shadow of a doubt the two greatest reboots of any film ever. Not every film was a slam dunk, but they all had a sense of creativity while also encompassing their beloved franchises.
These horror franchises don’t have to just thrive in theaters, they can work in a television format too! The MTV Scream series, Chucky, and the Amazon I Know What You Did Last Summer series pay homage while also managing to do their own thing. Chucky, in particular, brings back Andy in a way that doesn’t completely ruin the character. He’s a part of the story and not just being used to drive the plot home. It’s an incredible way to bring the killer doll to the life. These are examples of these things paying off which is good and should be held onto as we see more of these types of things get greenlit by studios.
The requel came in around the late 2010s and it just hasn’t been the same. Companies have tried to grasp the magic of movies like Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but have failed on every level. I don’t know if it’s just a lack of creativity since streaming has come about or if studios are just not looking for the correct talent. That’s not to knock these staffs that have given these films a shot, but some people simply aren’t the right picks for the franchise.
Reboots, sequels, and requels I’m all in on if the ideas are right. So far, they’ve done nothing but ruin what it means for a film to be a sequel or a reboot. Hopefully, in the near future, the next time one of these is picked up it can be executed properly and give the audience what they deserve, Whether it’s a streaming service or theatrical release, these films should be treated with the same care as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Avatar, and any other big franchises out there.
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