Top 10 Bad Horror Movie Sequels Everyone Watched
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
Quality and box office results don't always add up - and that goes both ways. For this list, we're looking at horror movie sequels - including those considered a prequel - that, despite being widely considered as substantially inferior to their predecessors, still managed to perform well at the box office. Our countdown includes horror films such as “The Ring Two” (2005), “Scream 3” (2000) & “Annabelle” (2014). Did YOUR least favorite horror movie make the list? Let us know in the comments!
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Special thanks to our user Sebastian Shih for suggesting this idea!
Script written by Michael Wynands
Top 10 Bad Horror Movie Sequels That Made Money
Quality and box office results don’t always add up - and that goes both ways. For this list, we’re looking at horror movie sequels - including those considered a prequel - that, despite being widely considered as substantially inferior to their predecessors, still managed to perform well at the box office. Our countdown includes horror films such as “The Ring Two” (2005), “Scream 3” (2000) & “Annabelle” (2014). Did YOUR least favorite horror movie make the list? Let us know in the comments!
#10: “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” (2015)
Reportedly filmed on a budget of only $15,000, the first “Paranormal Activity” film made just shy of $200 million. And with that, a franchise was born! Sadly, it’s been a rather uneven one. The first instalment holds a score of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it’s immediate sequel was less-well received. The third entry was considered a partial return to form, only to give way to three rather terrible follow-ups. With “The Ghost Dimension,” “Paranormal Activity” hit rock-bottom, but name recognition still won out. The film added another $78.9 million to the franchise total, against a budget of just $10 million.
#9: “Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2” (2000)
“The Blair Witch Project,” written and directed by filmmakers Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, was a cultural phenomenon. It was unlike anything cinemagoers had ever seen before and is credited with popularizing the found footage genre. Having generated $248.6 million on a $60,000 budget, the film was immediately greenlit for a sequel. When the filmmakers expressed their desire to let the initial buzz die down first, distributor Artisan Entertainment brought someone new in to direct this rushed sequel. It bears little resemblance to its namesake, was written off as a run-of-the-mill horror, and nominated for numerous Razzies. Sullying the Blair Witch name, it still earned a respectable $47 million.
#8: “Sinister 2” (2015)
Released in 2012, the first “Sinister” delivered serious scares and had a compelling premise involving a long history of mysterious family murders. From a budget of just $3 million, the film earned $87 million and was mostly well-received. It embraced a lot of clichés, but was also downright terrifying. Unfortunately, when it came time for the inevitable sequel, all the exciting twists, turns, and shocking reveals were all played out. Given the success of its predecessor, “Sinister 2” still managed to generate $54.1 million against a budget of $10 million, but it was critically panned, and generally dismissed as an unnecessary sequel.
#7: “The Ring Two” (2005)
When “The Ring” hit theaters in 2002, horror buffs were pleasantly surprised to discover that this western remake of the Japanese hit “Ringu” was . . . actually good. It was so successful at the box office, it inspired a wave of Japanese horror remakes by American studios. It also (inevitably) gave birth to a sequel. Credit where credit is due: DreamWorks actually tried to make a quality film; they even brought original “Ringu” director Hideo Nakata in to direct. But it was all for naught - the film’s story was just too clichéd and uninspired. Despite flopping with critics, it raked in $161.5 million. 2017’s “Rings” was even worse, but also turned a tidy profit.
#6: “The Final Destination” (2009)
Despite generally negative reviews, one thing has kept people coming back to the theater for each subsequent “Final Destination” film - the captivating premise that you can’t cheat death, and the ingenious ways in which it catches up to our doomed heroes. Before going out on a high note with “Final Destination 5” (although there are plans for a reboot), the series hit a creative low with the fourth installment, which lacked the franchise’s trademark macabre creativity. Of course, if you make a “Final Destination” film, the fans will come, and sure enough, it still made $186 million.
#5: “Scream 3” (2000)
All long-running horror films get stale with time, but you’d think that a meta-horror film franchise exploring the tropes, trappings, and clichés of the genre would know better and stop before it became a parody of itself. With the first “Scream” film, Wes Craven delivered a delicious vivisection of the genre. “Scream 2” showed that Craven still had more insights into horror cinema worth sharing. Then… “Scream 3” happened, and everything that made this series remarkable went out the window. Craven did the unthinkable and delivered an unselfconscious, cookie cutter horror sequel. Given the “Scream” reputation, it still generated $161.8 million, but it left fans and critics feeling sorely disappointed, if not downright betrayed.
#4: “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer” (1998)
Ouf. One look at that clunky title and the filmmakers should’ve known to pull the plug on this sequel. But hey, if all they were interested in accomplishing was a paycheck, they made the right choice. The first film “I Know What You Did Last Summer” wasn’t exactly a masterpiece, but with its attractive cast of upcoming young stars, solid scares, and novel premise, it performed well at the box office. When it’s sequel came out the following year, well, it too performed well at the box office… but that’s about the only good thing you can say for it. A blatant rehash of the first film, it was just kind of boring.
#3: “Annabelle” (2014)
A tightly-written and well-acted horror film, set in 1971, “The Conjuring” won over fans and critics alike, proving that a good old tale of haunting and possession still held appeal and potential. It also teased an infamous doll by the name of Annabelle - which had fans begging for a spin-off or sequel. We got one the very next year, and it left us wishing that Annabelle had sat on the shelf a little longer. A testament to the doll’s compelling tease in “The Conjuring,” “Annabelle” made $257 million on a production budget of just $6.5 million. It wasn’t a terrible film, but it fell far short of its predecessor.
#2: “Jaws 2” (1978)
The first Jaws film gave birth to the concept of a summer blockbuster and established director Steven Spielberg as a BIG name. There was no way Universal would pass up the opportunity to cash in on this unexpected hit, and so a sequel was fast-tracked. Sadly, Spielberg had zero interest in directing it. This was another problematic production, but unlike the first “Jaws,” this time… it kinda showed. In retrospect, it’s been called the best of the sequels, but that’s not saying much - it still pales in comparison to its namesake. “Jaws 2” ultimately made less than half of what its predecessor did . . . which is still a lot of money!
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few dishonorable mentions
“Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid” (2004)
“Alien Resurrection” (1997)
“The First Purge” (2018)
“Blair Witch” (2016)
“The Hills Have Eyes 2” (2007)
#1: “Saw 3D” (2010)
Though critics may have given the original “Saw” film with mixed reviews, it undeniably resonated with horror buffs and cinemagoers, becoming the must-see horror film of 2004. Then for the rest of the decade, we got one “Saw” film a year - each one failing to deliver anything resembling the innovation of the first film, in favor of increasingly gruesome gore porn. And yet, they all made money - lots of money. With “Saw 3D,” the franchise hit rock bottom. The 3D felt cheap, the deathtraps uninspired, and the dialogue arguably more painful than the grisly murders. But hey, it was a “Saw” movie, in 3D no less, so naturally… it made $136 million.