Rams (2020, dir. Jeremy Sims)

Long-feuding sheep-farming brothers are impacted by a virus threatening their rare breed flocks. Very pleasurable comedy-drama – a remake of the 2015 Icelandic film of the same name – which transposes its story well, and which does pretty much what you’d expect, but with confident ease. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Russian Raid [AKA Russkiy Reyd] (2020, dir. Denis Kryuchkov)

A former soldier hires mercenaries to help him with his revenge plan. Interesting if not wholly successful attempt to remake/localise Gareth Evans’s The Raid. It starts slow with some lazy sub-Tarantinoisms, but gains confidence and panache over time, plus Ivan Kotik is an unusual action star in the making.

Here’s the trailer.

Welcome to Sudden Death (2020, dir. Dallas Jackson)

An ex-forces security guard takes on hi-tech thieves during a basketball game. Straightforward DTV reprise of the 1995 Peter Hyams/Van Damme minor action classic: Michael Jai White is as charismatic as ever, and while the movie’s not great, it delivers lo-fi fisticuffs, some OK jokes, and a couple of neat ideas.

Here’s the trailer.

The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008, dir. Scott Derrickson)

An extraterrestrial ambassador arrives on Earth to determine humanity’s fate. Awkward remake of the 1950s SF classic which struggles to update Cold War paranoia with contemporary environmental threats. An over-reliance on CG spectacle and contrived family drama doesn’t help. Star Reeves is good, though.

Here’s the trailer.

Night of the Demons (2009, dir. Adam Gierasch)

A group of partygoers are trapped in a house that turns out to be full of demons. Okay-as-far-as-it-goes remake of the 1998 movie that also takes a lot of inspiration from the likes of From Dusk Till Dawn and various Evil Dead movies. Pleasingly brash, though, if no classic.

Here’s the trailer.

Sorority Row (2009, dir. Stewart Hendler)

Eight months after the prank-related killing of a fellow student, those involved are each targeted for murder. Glossy loose remake of The House on Sorority Row, with a focus as much on hotties and hunks as much as the at-times inventive deaths and whodunnit stuff. Carrie Fisher is fun in support.

Here’s the trailer.

Maleficent (2014, dir. Robert Stromberg)

A loose retelling of Sleeping Beauty, from the perspective of its antagonist. A brisk dark-ish fantasy that at least tries something a little different from the usual Disney liveactionifications of its animated properties. Hyperreal and CGtastic, though at least it’s pacy, and Jolie seems to be having fun. A sequel followed.

The Last House on the Left (2009, dir. Dennis Iliadis)

A holidaying young woman is raped by an escaped prisoner; later, he and his crew happen across her parents. Overlong horror remake with handsome production values which problematise the movie; prurient direction doesn’t help, so confused messages abound, impacting on the potential for the movie to be, you know, entertaining.

Prom Night (2008, dir. Nelson McCormick)

A murderous obsessive escapes his facility on the night of his target’s senior prom. Keeping only the geography and one of the storylines of the 1980 original, this is a perfunctory slasher, startling only in its plot simplicity. Some depth in casting featuring The Wire alumni adds interest, but that’s about it.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010, dir. Samuel Bayer)

A group of teenagers are stalked by a vengeful dream demon. A well-resourced series reboot – remaking the 1984 genre classic – that works well enough on its own terms, but which doesn’t add enough (a voguish focus on the villain’s backstory aside) to make it distinctive. Fine in itself, though, if hardly memorable.