ByKristin Lai, writer at
MP Staff Writer, cinephile and resident Slytherclaw // UCLA Alumna // Follow me on Twitter: kristin_lai
Kristin Lai

This weekend, horror fans everywhere will be treating themselves to the long-awaited sequel we never knew we wanted: Blair Witch.

Lionsgate shocked the world by revealing that their movie, filmed under the title The Woods, is actually a second sequel to the 1999 found footage film The Blair Witch Project. This tightly guarded secret led the film to be one of the most talked-about movies of the season.

The horror genre has a long and uneven history with sequels, so it's easy to see why fans are approaching Blair Witch with trepidation. Even with all of the talk surrounding the movie, will Blair Witch be able to stand up to the original?

The first film's star, Heather Donahue, certainly seems to think so. The actress recently posted the following message to horror fans on her Facebook page stating outright that the sequel is better and scarier than the first.

Across all genres, it's rare that the sequel is better than, or even as good as the original. But in some cases, audiences are pleasantly surprised with the turnout. Below is a ranking of the highest reviewed horror movie sequels based on their Rotten Tomatoes scores:

1. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%
  • Original movie score: Frankenstein (1931), 100%
  • Starring: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive and Valerie Hobson

James Whale's classic black and white sequel showed us that you don't need buckets of blood or jump scares to make a great horror movie. Also that it's pretty hard for old Frank to find love.

2. Aliens (1986)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%
  • Original movie score: Alien (1979), 97%
  • Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn and Michael Biehn

With Aliens, James Cameron proved that sequels can be better than the originals! Hard as I'm sure it was to improve on the near-perfection of Alien.

3. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%
  • Original movie score: The Evil Dead (1981), 95%
  • Starring: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry and Dan Hicks

This is just the first appearance on this list of multiple installations from the Evil Dead franchise. But Sam Raimi and Fede Alvarez's first follow-up even outdid the first, scoring three percent higher than its predecessor.

4. Ash vs. Evil Dead (2016)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%
  • Original movie score: The Evil Dead (1981), 95%, Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987), 98%, Army of Darkness (1993), 72% and Evil Dead (2013), 61%
  • Starring: Bruce Campbell, Jill Marie Jones and Mimi Rogers

Technically speaking, Ash vs. Evil Dead is a television series and not a movie. But the Starz series is so fantastic, I would be remiss if we didn't include it.

5. Dawn of the Dead (1979)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
  • Original movie score: Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  • Starring: David Emge, Ken Foree and Scott Reiniger

Another long and successful franchise, Dawn of the Dead is the second film in George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead zombie horror series, and one of the greatest horror films ever made.

6. Day of the Dead (1985)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 82%
  • Original movie score: Night of the Living Dead (1968) 96% and Dawn of the Dead (1979)
  • Starring: Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander and Joseph Pilato

Following close behind Dawn of the Dead is Romero's third and far more bleak Living Dead movie. People really can't get enough of the zombie apocalypse.

7. Scream 2 (1997)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 81%
  • Original movie score: Scream (1996), 79%
  • Starring: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette

Wes Craven's Scream 2 further popularized the teen American slasher film genre and continued the torture of Neve Campbell's character Sidney Prescott. I guess it just goes to show that solving your problems isn't as simple as moving away to college.

8. Curse of Chucky (2013)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 81%
  • Original movie score: Child's Play (1988), 68%, Bride of Chucky (1998), 44% and Seed of Chucky (2004) 32%
  • Starring: Brad Dourif, Fiona Dourif and Danielle Bisutti

The Chucky films are basically just the latter half of the Child's Play series, renamed to put all the emphasis on the murderous doll that has always been those movies' mascot. Curse of Chucky is far and beyond the highest rated of the spinoff films. For once, this tiny doll's movie's erred more on the side of horror on the horror-comedy spectrum.

9. The Conjuring 2 (2016)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 80%
  • Original movie score: The Conjuring (2013), 86%
  • Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Frances O'Connor

With someone like James Wan at the helm, it's no surprise that the Conjuring sequel was just as scary as the first.

10. Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 78%
  • Original movie score: Wrong Turn (2003), 41%
  • Starring: David Emge, Ken Foree and Scott Reiniger

Here's one instance where the sequel is far more critically acclaimed than its predecessor. Though Wrong Turn 2 was able to use the campiness from the first Wrong Turn to its advantage. Not to mention, it includes some truly gruesome deaths.

11. [REC] 4: Apocalypse (2015)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 78%
  • Original movie score: [Rec] (2007), 90%, Rec] 2 (2010), 71% and [REC] 3 Genesis (2012), 39%
  • Starring: Manuela Velasco, Paco Manzanedo and Héctor Colomé

Though none of its sequels achieved quite the level of fame as the first, each of the [REC] movies — outside of the third, that is — each proved to be strong horror films in their own right.

12. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 - Dream Warriors (1987)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 74%
  • Original movie score: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), 94% and Nightmare on Elm Street, Part 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985), 40%
  • Starring: Robert Englund, Patricia Arquette and Laurence Fishburne

No list of horror sequels would be complete without a little bit of Freddy Krueger, right? (And a hair metal theme song.)

Want to read more about Blair Witch? Be sure to check out these related articles:

13. Land of the Dead (2005)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 73%
  • Original movie score: Night of the Living Dead (1968), 96%, Dawn of the Dead (1979), 92% and Day of the Dead (1985), 82%
  • Starring: Simon Baker, Asia Argento and Dennis Hopper

Romero's fourth movie in the Living Dead series might score lower than the rest, but a 73% as a horror film is still an impressive score.

14. Army of Darkness (1993)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 72%
  • Original movie score: The Evil Dead (1981), 95% and Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987), 98%
  • Starring: Bruce Campbell, Embeth Davidtz and Marcus Gilbert

Bruce Campbell is at it again in the third Evil Dead movie. But this sequel includes a healthy dose of time travel and a lot of laughs in addition to all the skeletons and horror violence.

15. [REC] 2 (2010)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 71%
  • Original movie score: [Rec] (2007), 90%
  • Starring: Manuela Velasco, Pablo Rosso and Martha Carbonell

The second sequel reveals that these zombies aren't just zombies, they're demons. Fantastic.

16. 28 Weeks Later... (2007)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 70%
  • Original movie score: 28 Days Later (2003), 87%
  • Starring: Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne and Jeremy Renner

Is there anything worse than forgiving your husband for abandoning you, kissing him and promptly having him rip out your throat and gouge out your eyes? Probably not.

17. Red Dragon (2002)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 69%
  • Original movie score: The Silence of the Lambs (1991), 95% and Hannibal (2001), 39%
  • Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton and Ralph Fiennes

Though not nearly as successful as The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon helped wipe away the bad taste left in our mouths from Hannibal. Plus, the film's stellar A-list cast can't be beat.

18. Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 68%
  • Original movie score: Paranormal Activity (2009), 83% and Paranormal Activity 2 (2010), 58%
  • Starring: Jessica Tyler Brown, Chloe Csengery and Christopher Nicholas Smith

After Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman directed the documentary Catfish — which inspired the MTV series of the same name — the duo decided to set their sights on something even more terrifying than online predators: the paranormal. Their takeover of the Paranormal Activity franchise proved a success with the third film scoring 10 percent higher than the second.

19. Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 67%
  • Original movie score: Gremlins (1984), 85%
  • Starring: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates and John Glover

Even with all of the laughably weird characters — I mean, really, Electric gremlin? — Gremlins 2 is still pretty damn good.

20. Tremors 3: Back to Perfection (2001)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 67%
  • Original movie score: Tremors (1990), 85%
  • Starring: Michael Gross, Bobby Jacoby and Charlotte Stewart

The Tremors series has one of the weirdest monsters to grace this list, but there's something oddly charming about the absurdity of the giant, worm-looking Graboids.

21. Predators (2010)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 64%
  • Original movie score: Predator (1987), 78% and Predator 2 (1990), 25%
  • Starring: Adrien Brody, Topher Grace and Alice Braga

Predators is far from perfect, but it's also far from the near-atrocity that was Predator 2. (Sorry, Danny Glover.)

22. Diary of the Dead (2007)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 62%
  • Original movie score: Night of the Living Dead (1968), 96%, Dawn of the Dead (1979), 92%, Day of the Dead (1985), 82% and Land of the Dead (2005), 73%
  • Starring: Michelle Morgan, Joshua Close and Shawn Roberts

That's right, another Dead movie. But this time, it's about a bunch of film students who have cameras ready to document the downfall of humanity.

23. Final Destination 5 (2011)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 61%
  • Original movie score: Final Destination (2000), 34%, Final Destination 2 (2003), 48%, Final Destination 3 (2006), 43% and The Final Destination (2009), 29%
  • Starring: Nick D'Agosto, Emma Bell and Miles Fisher

To be honest, I have a soft spot in my heart for the camp in Final Destination movies. As much as I love Final Destination 5, now I have a serious fear of going to the eye doctor.

24. Evil Dead (2013)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 61%
  • Original movie score: The Evil Dead (1981), 95%, Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987), 98% and Army of Darkness (1993), 72%
  • Starring: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez and Lou Taylor Pucci

Even though Evil Dead is the only movie in the franchise that didn't involve Bruce Campbell — and therefore lacked a certain something — it's still a decent horror movie with plenty of cringe-inducing scenes.

25. Hostel: Part III (2011)

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 60%
  • Original movie score: Hostel (2006), 61% and Hostel Part II (2007), 44%
  • Starring: Kip Pardue, Sarah Habel and Thomas Kretschmann

The final film in the Hostel trilogy finally took the torture stateside. The only luck I'm hoping for in Las Vegas is to completely avoid the Elite Hunting Club.

While this list offers plenty of evidence to suggest a horror sequel will be as good as the original, we'll still have to see with Blair Witch. The Blair Witch's current Rotten Tomatoes score ranking is at just 47%, while the original received an impressive 86%.

In any case, the one thing that never scares a diehard horror fan is the opinions of critics. At the very least, I'm hoping this film is better-received than the still-divisive Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2.

Blair Witch opens in theaters nationwide this weekend.


Do you think Blair Witch will be as good as the original?

[Source: Rotten Tomatoes, Facebook]


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