What's New NetflixNews10 Best Horror Sequels Transformed into Standalone Films in 2023

10 Best Horror Sequels Transformed into Standalone Films in 2023

10 Best Horror Sequels Transformed into Standalone Films in 2023

Sequels in the film industry often face a tough challenge of living up to the greatness of their predecessors. However, amidst this struggle, there are a handful of exceptions that not only hold their ground but also shine in their own unique ways.

These exceptional sequels can be divided into two intriguing categories. First, we have the “renegade sequels.” These films draw inspiration from their predecessors but dare to go beyond the usual sequel formula. They take the essence of the original and transform it into something refreshingly distinct.

On the flip side, we have the adventurous sequels that embark on a thrilling journey of their own. They seize the original’s concepts and boldly venture into uncharted territories. These movies introduce gripping storylines while cleverly incorporating elements from their predecessors, creating an exhilarating connection between old and new.

If you believe there are horror sequels that surpass their predecessors, now is your chance to share your thoughts. Let us know which ones you think shine the brightest in their own cinematic universe. Join the conversation and let the excitement unfold!

1. Prey

The genius of the Predator franchise lies in its foolproof formula: each movie drops the iconic alien into a different time period or situation. This opens up endless possibilities for new films. However, studios seemed to have missed this simple concept after Predator 2 in 1990, as subsequent films got caught up in unnecessary world-building.

Luckily, Prey, the 2022 prequel, finally remembers the bulletproof formula. It takes the extraterrestrial hunter and places it in the American frontier, where it encounters a young Comanche woman.

2. 10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Cloverfield Lane
The horror genre has a history of making films that are “sequels in name only.” These films have the same title as their predecessor, but not much else. Although not as common today, such films still exist, and 10 Cloverfield Lane is a great example.

Interestingly, the film originally started as a non-Cloverfield pitch called The Cellar. It only became a spiritual successor to 2008’s Cloverfield during pre-production. As it is now, you can watch the film’s story without any knowledge of Cloverfield. The story revolves around a young woman trapped in a bunker with two men who claim the surface is uninhabitable due to a disaster.

In fact, it might even be better to watch it that way.

3. Dawn of the Dead

Dawn of the Dead
Often hailed as a sequel that surpasses the original, George Romero’s iconic film, Dawn of the Dead, can be enjoyed as a standalone movie. Although Romero’s Dead series, which starts with Night of the Living Dead and continues with Dawn, Day, Land, and so on, builds upon the events of previous films, each installment can be appreciated independently without relying on characters or specific plot elements from its predecessors.

Dawn of the Dead is widely regarded as the pinnacle of this series, and it played a significant role in shaping the zombie-apocalypse genre as we know it today.

4. The Devil’s Rejects

The Devil's Rejects
Rob Zombie’s directorial debut came in 2003 with House of 1000 Corpses, but it’s his subsequent film, The Devil’s Rejects (2005), that many consider to be even better. The reason behind this sentiment lies in a significant shift in focus.

House of 1000 Corpses, though unconventional, follows a relatively straightforward horror plot. In contrast, The Devil’s Rejects turns the tables by portraying the villainous Firefly clan from the previous film as the main characters. Their sadistic tendencies are not downplayed in any way.

This transformation effectively turns the movie into a crime story rather than a traditional horror flick. Moreover, it places the audience’s perspective with the villains, allowing them to see the events unfold through their eyes. As if that wasn’t enough, the Firefly clan is relentlessly pursued by a lawman driven by revenge, who is just as merciless as they are.

5. Pearl

Ti West’s X premiered in March 2022 and surprised viewers with an after-credits trailer for a prequel film. This prequel, titled Pearl, delves into the origin story of X’s aged antagonist, portrayed by Mia Goth. The best part is that Pearl stands strongly on its own, so even if you haven’t seen X, you can still enjoy it.

In Pearl, Mia Goth takes on the role of a young woman named Pearl, who is feeling trapped by her life on a secluded farm and yearns for fame and fortune. However, alongside her aspirations, Pearl harbors a sadistic side that, combined with her dreams of a better existence, brings tragedy and misfortune to those around her.

Goth’s portrayal of Pearl in the film received widespread acclaim, capturing the attention of audiences. Additionally, Pearl also received praise for its aesthetic references to beloved classics from Hollywood’s Golden Age.

6. Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep
In 2013, Stephen King released Doctor Sleep, a continuation of his highly regarded story, The Shining, which was published in 1977. Fast forward to 2019, and Mike Flanagan took on the daring challenge of adapting King’s novel for the big screen, while also creating a sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s iconic 1980 film adaptation of The Shining, which notably diverged from the book.

The result is a movie that serves as both an adaptation of King’s novel and a follow-up to Kubrick’s film. However, because the story takes place many years after the events of The Shining, it centers around the adult Dan Torrance as he confronts a group of vampire-like psychics known as the True Knot, who prey on individuals with psychic abilities, also known as the “shining.” As a result, Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep can also be enjoyed as a standalone film.

7. Evil Dead Rise

Evil Dead Rise
2023’s Evil Dead Rise is a direct sequel that stands on its own, drawing inspiration from both Sam Raimi’s original Evil Dead trilogy and Fede Alvarez’s 2013 remake. It builds upon established mythology, while offering a fresh take that could fit into either timeline.

This gruesome and gory film takes the franchise’s trademark carnage to a new setting – a mostly abandoned apartment building in the city. It’s a thrilling ride that explores uncharted territory for the Evil Dead series.

For die-hard fans of the franchise, there are plenty of Easter eggs scattered throughout the film. However, it’s important to note that prior knowledge of the previous installments is not necessary to understand and enjoy this blood-soaked standalone.

8. Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Halloween III: Season of the Witch
Halloween III, once considered an outlier in the Halloween franchise, has now gained a rightful cult status as a unique and enjoyable installment. Although it may seem odd as the third film in the series, it has its own merits.

To truly understand Halloween III, it is important to know that the original 1978 Halloween movie was never intended to spawn a franchise centered around the slasher icon, Michael Myers. When the original film became a success, a sequel was inevitable. However, director John Carpenter and producer Debra Hill had a different vision for the series. They wanted each film to be connected solely by the holiday itself, without recurring characters or plot elements.

Therefore, Halloween III took a completely different direction after wrapping up Myers’ storyline in Halloween II. It introduced a script by renowned British sci-fi writer Nigel Kneale (although his name was removed from the final product) and introduced cursed Halloween masks, Stonehenge, and even robots.

While audiences initially reacted negatively to the absence of Myers, over time, horror fans have come to appreciate Halloween III for its incredibly bizarre and stand-alone nature.

9. Friday the 13th Part 2

Friday the 13th Part 2
In the original Scream, it’s revealed that Jason’s mother is the villain of the first Friday the 13th film, not Jason himself. This is pretty well-known by now. Jason doesn’t become the main antagonist until Part 2, so the sequel can also stand on its own.

However, if you watch the two films together, you’ll notice nods to the original in Part 2 that take on added meaning.

In Part 3, Jason finally completes his iconic look with the hockey mask. But in the earlier films, he just wears a bag on his head.

10. Blade II

Blade II
These days, it’s hard to believe that Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro made a follow-up to someone else’s comic book action horror movie. However, that’s exactly what happened with Blade II, which del Toro released in 2002.

In his typical del Toro fashion, he doesn’t rely heavily on the original movie. He even retcons the demise of a major character and instead explores his own personal interests. One of these interests includes introducing a new type of vampire that bears a striking resemblance to the ones that would later dominate his TV series, The Strain.

The outcome is a film that stands strongly on its own, perhaps even better than it works as a sequel. It is infused with del Toro’s distinctive style and his artistic preoccupations.

Emma Isabella
Emma Isabella
Emma is a regular contributor to WhatsNewNetflix. She likes delving into the world of Netflix TV shows as well as studying films, especially comedies.


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