1. “The Departed” (2006)
Martin Scorsese utilized his unique filmmaking style and gritty polish to take the 2002 film “Internal Affairs” and transform it into a riveting, well-executed and captivating gangster film that wedged itself into my mind in a way that is hard to suppress. This film is my No. 1 remake, in large part because of its remarkable performances. Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and the great Jack Nicholson really bring the film to life.
2. “The Fly” (1986)
David Cronenberg’s 1986 re-imagining of the 1958 sci-fi film of the same name took advantage of its creature effects and gore. What makes this film is Cronenberg’s obvious care for the characters. They are written and acted in such a strong way that I feel for them and worry for them when things go wrong. They make a film with a silly premise into a tragic tale about a man slowly but surely losing his humanity.
3. “True Grit” (2010)
With slick photography, top-notch performances and great cinematography, the Coen Brothers’ version of the Charles Portis novel of the same name delves deeper into the characters than the 1969 western, starring John Wayne, did. Nowhere is that clearer than in the ending, which indicates a hunger for violence and vengeance can eventually leave a person cold, bitter and empty.
4. “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1978)
The 1956 sci-fi thriller “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” has spawned three remakes, and this 1978 movie. Starring Donald Sutherland and directed by Philip Kaufman, it is easily the best. With tense pacing, top-notch acting, and unpredictable story turns, this remake is in my opinion scarier and more effective. I dare you to guess the ending if a Google search hasn’t done it for you already.
5. “Let Me In” (2010)
Though I love this film, I put it low on the list because it may actually be too faithful to its source material, the Swedish 2008 film “Let the Right One In.” With some exceptions, such as a subplot and a certain omitted “reveal,” it seems almost the same as the original film. However, the acting, the direction and the overall mood of the film definitely make it worth watching, and it makes for two great horror films.