1) Don’t just exchange “US” for “Japan” in your story
Localise the story points – make the details of the story feel more realistic. All too often, lazy filmmakers just take the entire story and transplant it to the US. It happened with The Grudge, it happened with The Ring, and it will definitely continue to happen while there is shedloads of money to be made for the minimum of effort expelled.
This is an area in which you should take a leaf out of Martin Scorsese’s book – when he remade Infernal Affairs, he made the story feel more local. He changed the entire language of the film (literally and figuratively), and made it work. If the makers of The Eye had understood that, and not just replayed the original again but in English, with Jessica Alba, then we’d have had a classic on our hands. Instead, what they did was eliminate all of the creepiness of the original and instead gave us terrible special effects and a weak central performance. If an actress like Julianna Moore had been given the central role, then it would have regained some of the gravity of the original (although Blindness, a 2010 movie starring Julianne Moore covering vaguely the same ground, was terrible).
What I’m saying is that carbon copies don’t entertain audiences; they can see through it right away. Make the story your own. In the world of TV, this tactic is what took The Office from mid-season replacement to huge success.
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