We can add these titles to a list of genre remakes that includes: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, The Hills Have Eyes, Omen 666, The Hitcher, When a Stranger Calls, The Fog, Assault on Precinct 13, and Black Christmas. Already on the slate: Friday the 13th and Straw Dogs.
Putting aside the judgment whether or not these remakes have been poor, we must ask the question: why is Hollywood obsessed with remakes and re-imaginations? The only logical answer is the market. Movies have gotten so expensive to produce, and must earn their money back during a very tight window: on opening weekend. Thus, it is necessary these days to boast a "brand name." It seems a movie can't go into theaters and succeed financially without one. That brand name, that franchise title -- like the words "Big Mac" or "Whopper" -- immediately alert an audience about what to expect.
What is disturbing me to about the trend of remakes and re-imaginations is that they are most often helmed by young directors who have no understanding of the context or meaning of the original film. They are hired guns and traffic directors, not artists with something to say. When we gaze back at the more artistically successful horror remakes in film history (Invasion of the Body Snatchers  and John Carpenter's The Thing ), we can see that the filmmakers behind those efforts remade the original film with an updated, relevant context...which made the remakes meaningful. I don't demand that all remakes be faithful interpretations of the original material, I only ask that they have something to say; that they re-deploy a successful property to tell us something about the times we live in. Along with that, I'd like a little style, a little panache, not just blood and guts. Is that asking too much?
Here's a thought: One day I would like to go to the theatre and see an original horror movie that challenges and scares me. I'd like it to be original; something daring and new. That isn't to say those films never come around; I'm an admirer of recent horrors such as Hostel (2005), The Devil's Rejects (2005) and The Descent (2006). But those seem to be the exception today; not the rule. Again, we can argue the quality of remakes, but what we can't argue is that they are being served up with increasing regularity.
Am I just old and cranky, or do the plethora of remakes bother anyone else? Is originality such a difficult commodity to come by? Or is it just because Hollywood has been taken over by accountants, and those who should be making horror films - a whole generation - have been left out in the cold?