Horror films, at their best, are absolute marvels to watch. Tense, horrifying, gruesome, anxiety-inducing – the peak of what cinema can be and the best experiences you can have. When a great one rolls around, there’s always the potential for a sequel… and, too often, they’re not good. Here are of the worst sequels to great original films.
For purposes of this list, the movie has to be the first sequel (i.e. Paranormal Activity 2, Happy Feet 2, etc) and not just any entry following the first film in a franchise.
Paranormal Activity 2
Paranormal Activity has almost become a meme thanks to how many low quality sequels were pumped out on every given year for Halloween. Cheap to make and high grossing; there’s almost no need to try and make it good.
Paranormal Activity 2 may be bad partly because it’s replaying the same beats as the first movie without much (if any) twist. Generally, in sequels, you go darker, bigger, more climactic. Paranormal Activity as a franchise may as well be called Completely Lacking In Activity because they’re pretty bloody boring.
The Exorcist 2: The Heretic
The Exorcist is an upper-class horror movie that is simply brilliant. Great performances all around, great visual aesthetic, great writing, great soundtrack. Just great. But what happens when you get slightly more budget but worse everything else?
The Heretic is what happens. Described as one of the worst films ever made, it’s not an easy watch. The cast is ridiculously good which is its saving grace. Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, Richard Burton, and Louise Fletcher, all who are terrific actors.
I think this is also what differentiates it from other very bad movies, is that none of the actors do a bad job. A major highlight is the reveal of Pazuzu which is something I find myself quoting a lot in day-to-day life. A much better alternative title is 2 Exorcist 2 Pazuzu.
Choosing between Halloween 2 and Halloween Kills is a ‘Sophie’s choice’ – but not because they’re both children whom you love dearly. It’s like deciding which one you hate more out of mosquitoes or ticks.
Halloween Kills gets the nod though, because its creators should’ve known better. It’s the umpteenth Halloween movie. There’s been so many bad ones. You’d think they’d have ironed out all the bad bits. But alas, no. A sequel to the smart Halloween (2018) which continues the story from John Carpenter’s original film in a soft reboot form. So much potential – such a fun premise. The entire town is hunting Michael Myers and wants to bring him down, it writes itself!
I don’t say it lightly but this is the worst movie released in 2021. A much more apt title would be Halloween Kills The Franchise.
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
The original Blair Witch is an astonishing feat of filmmaking and was made in such an unorthodox, raw way that attempting to emulate it is hard and probably not worth it. During Blair Witch, the actors were only given vague outlines for the movie’s plot and told to play around to keep a raw and authentic feel for the action. A significant amount was improv, and that’s possibly why it’s so compelling and realistic.
Unfortunately, nothing good and pure can remain so. Released 18 months after the original, Blair Witch 2 arrived into cinemas with a decidedly negative reaction. The film revolves around a group who were so fascinated by the events of Blair Witch they search for answers themselves. This, similar to other films on this list, is a fun idea and interesting sequel concept. But it’s just no good.
This film got absolutely butchered in the editing room. Originally conceived to be a film about mass hysteria and more of a thriller, it got cut into an incredibly generic found footage horror film. It’s just not good. It did however make decent money at the box office, albeit not at the same levels of bank as the predecessor.
The Fly 2
David Cronenberg’s The Fly is an amazing movie. It’s got a tremendous performance by Jeff Goldblum and is as horrifying as it is intriguing. As a big body horror and Cronenberg fan, this is easily in the top 3 of both categories.
The Fly 2, however, as you’d expect from an article about bad sequels, is very bad. Goldblum returns in archival footage only, and the only cast member to return from the original is John Getz.
Arguably they should have called this movie Son of The Fly, as it follows Martin Brundle (Eric Stoltz) the child of Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) and Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis). It’s just crap. It’s not interesting, it’s really cheap, and it’s so clearly made to make money — not because it’s a story worth telling.