Platinum Dunes polished horror’s grimy past for a new genera…

Jessica Biel looks scared in the car.
in jessica biel the Texas Chainsaw Massacre new line / new line

Horror buffs are not a monolith. Discuss the topic of Rob Zombie or A24 with a group of them and you’ll see how widely opinions can vary. But in the early 2000s, there was something every card-carrying scare fan agreed on – a new trend that united the entire genre against a common enemy, namely monsters. architect of fear, If you considered yourself a true horror fan at the time, there was a very good chance that you would have disliked Platinum Dunes and its charming, profitable horror remake in every aspect.

Founded in 2001, Platinum Dunes was a production company of Michael Bay, director of action blockbusters such as: armageddon, rockAnd bad boys, The business plan was to finance low-budget Hollywood films, with a particular focus on horror. However the company greenlit some original projects in its early days (and ultimately found new success). The Purge And a quiet place series), most of its resources were devoted to snapping up the rights to ’70s and ’80s classics and giving them a 21st-century shine.

Platinum Dunes remastered five films over eight years, starting with Tobe Hooper’s timeless Slaughterhouse Nightmare the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, After that landmark cover version did big business in October 2003, Bay turned his attention to the cheesiness of another enduringly popular video-store staple: the questionable fact-based haunted-house chiller. the Amityville Horror, Stranger-danger thriller of the 80s Hitchar, And two of the milkiest slasher franchises of them all, friday the 13th And A Nightmare on Elm Street, Dunes also found space for Leatherface’s origin story, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning,

From the very beginning, these films were criticized, panned and panned in fan circles. His reputation has not improved. chain saw The remake, which recently turned 20, remains the easiest target, thanks in part to this: Most of the horror remake trend of the 2000s – a decade of reinvigorated scares, a brutal raid on the genre’s vault – was based on that film’s Can be found in strong box – office display. Similarly, new chain saw Set the template for what’s to come over Platinum Dunes. Crisp, air-brushed beauty. Mercenary repetition of key shots and sequences and shocks. It’s strange to separate everything about the original from gritty and outsider-art. It all started with Marcus Nispel’s unnecessary trip to the Texas boonies.

The color-corrected look of Platinum Dunes – a more atmospheric variation on the sweat-covered, magic-hour glow of Bay’s own films – had an ironic architect: It was cinematographer Daniel Pearl who shot the original. chain saw And he was brought back for the remake, which proposed that they strayed too far from the raw, snuff-film grain of Hooper’s film. “There’s no point in making the exact same movie with the exact same look,” Pearl said. would say before the remake’s release, and he had an issue. Why unearth a masterpiece? Of course, remaking one is close to exactly the same question.

The Dunes remakes don’t soften their recycled content at all. Most of them are every bit as violent as the disgusting movies, just painted in a new color. If anything, some of them are actually More clear. 2003 chainsaw It’s in many ways the offensive gorefest that the title suggests, replacing the disturbing but not particularly bloody gore of the original with lots of sharply photographed carnage. The real thing about the remakes is that they give all that violence a mall-friendly polish, shooting B-movie thrills like fashion spreads.

You could call it the biofication of horror, except that his headache-inducing work has much less of the abstract, kinetic, frankly insane kaleidoscopic quality—the thing that brought the director popularity among mainstream trash-art connoisseurs. Is. Nispel and most of the film’s directors, such as David Meyers and Samuel Bayer, focused their attention on commercials and music videos, just like Bay. They seemed similarly obsessed with superficial influences but without Bay’s signature quick-cut frenzy. They made movies like they were still trying to sell something to the audience.

In The Hitcher a woman confronts a man.
evil picture

Narratively, the Dunes remake also feels a bit focus-grouped. He punctuated his cunning cruelty with the odd sentimental modification – little plot points to please the imaginary multiplex audience. You can almost hear the studio notes. “Could the Sawyer family also have a lovable, mutant child like Leatherface’s little brother? What if Jason kidnapped beautiful women instead of killing them? what if the hero in distress Hitchar A hot girlfriend was also along for the ride,

The last of those movies, by the way, is probably the worst of those movies. It takes a strangely weird road movie and flattens its personality, emerging as a normal pod-person Hitchar, Any comparison to the original – the far left field of the Dunes acquisition – would do no good. Similarly, chainsaw The remake would probably look like watchable designer junk – it’s at least fairly intense – if viewed in a vacuum. But it cannot escape the shadow of the eternal challenge of terror which it is poorly emulating; It has a 70s cosplay quality, like watching models having a costume party. It’s the same with the prequels.

On the contrary, normal amityville horror – starring an incredibly serious Ryan Reynolds – benefits from remaking a movie that wasn’t a classic to begin with. and though friday the 13th While the remake lacks some of the flavor of the more charmingly dopey installments, it’s really not much better, worse, or even different than the first. The F13 movies have always been unabashedly lizard-brained. At the very least, one can point to some good kills in the remake (pity the pretty classmate who gets the blade through the top of her noggin), and isn’t that really all we want? friday the 13th,

At the risk of inciting a Freddy Krueger-like mob, it can be said that Elm Street The remake is the most interesting of the Dunes cycle. Yes, it’s a shameless departure from Wes Craven’s original, a stolen heroics of copy-and-pasted scares rather than doing much new in the dream-killing department – the bedroom massacre, the gloved hand in the bathwater, etc. – accepts. But it also makes clear the implication that Krueger is a child molester, a strange twist that creates a new kind of fear that Craven’s film doesn’t have: Here, Freddy becomes the literal return of the repressed, a The monster that rises from painful depressions. The mind of teenagers. It’s a provocative change and one that completely saves this widely maligned film from accusations of lazy plagiarism.

No-Elm StreetInteresting edits aside, all of these movies are creatively questionable. They bring to mind unsavory remodelers stripping historic properties and painting over their original structures. Or modern apparel companies selling counterfeit “classic” T-shirts. They make shiny multiplex products out of cheesy entertainment from another era. They are monuments to the lack of new ideas and prime examples of nostalgia in Hollywood.

In A Nightmare on Elm Street, Freddy breaks out of the wall.
New Line Cinema

There’s something deeply off-putting, even about the ultra-slick popcorn movies of the 2000s. Many of the films that were remakes of Platinum Dunes were clearly influenced by Vietnam. war is definitely there Texas Chainsaw Massacrewith its grainy celluloid vision of madness and senseless death, and in friday the 13th, a portrait of teenage slaughter with physically gruesome effects by a former war photographer. In updating those films for the aughts, Platinum Dunes abstractly captured the feeling of a different wartime, a bloodthirsty modern America watching mass death and destruction on crisp video feeds. Remakes are like processed food for the era of the war on terror.

There are many reasons to dislike them, even interesting ones because of their flaws. The Dunes canon has ruined all remakes of classics: they have no real reason to exist beyond pure studio cannibalism. Most of them are completely unnecessary, which is arguably worse than bad. For them, hatred no longer seems necessary. They now seem more like relics than the films they remake. They will be forgotten. The fan base will be away from them forever.

If you’re into that kind of fan, most of the Platinum Dunes remakes are streaming on Max. For more of AA Dowd’s writings, please visit his author page.

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