Ranking the best horror movie sequels

Like its predecessor, The Conjuring 2 is an old-school haunted house thrill ride, intent on popping out and startling you by constantly saying “boo.” But no one over the past decade is better at scaring jumps than Wan, who takes an almost devilish joy in painstakingly constructing each set with his dazzling camera moves. He and screenwriters Chad and Carey Hayes also continue the first film’s emphasis on strong characterization, finding affection and time to dwell on the family dynamics of the film’s victims and the warmth of its heroes Ed. and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga). You may have seen this type of movie plenty of times, but never in a setting where you’re passing out as a ghostbuster sings Elvis Presley.

10. Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

Alright listen to us, how about Nightmare on Elm Street, except that this time the children are superheroes? Whether by design or not, that’s more or less the conceit dreamed up by screenwriter Frank Darabont, working from a story idea from a briefly returning Wes Craven, in this Freddy Krueger trio. It’s also the movie that more or less set the tone for what a Freddy movie is. While the former was a chiller, and the latter an interesting werewolf-like homoerotic thriller, dream warriors is a fantasy-adjacent comedy in which Robert Englund’s killer brings the yuck.

From the moment Freddy’s steps out of a TV to say “Welcome to prime time, bitch,” before poking his next victim’s face through the glass, the Nightmare movies have become sight gags and murder puns, except, you know, with real murders. It’s silly, but this is the last one Nightmare movie where audiences could at least care about some of the protagonists, including Heather Langenkamp’s return of Nancy. – CC

28 weeks later poster

9. 28 Weeks Later (2007)

Danny Boyle and Alex Garland 28 days later was a game-changer for the zombie genre, the movie that inspired a whole new era for movies and shows about hungry flesh eaters, including behemoths like The Walking Dead and Zack Snyder’s dawn of the dead. Needless to say director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo had very big shoes to fill with 2007’s 28 weeks later. Fortunately, it knocked this sequel out of the park by focusing on what made the original such a tour de force: an intimate story about a family trying to stay together in the midst of a disaster beyond their control. That, and some really terrifying zombie scenes.

The film follows Don (Robert Carlyle), a widower who finally reunites with children Tammy (Imogen Poots) and Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton) after the outbreak that shut down the UK in the first film. NATO has built a safe zone on the Isle of Dogs where citizens can slowly begin to resettle the country and rebuild their lives. But when Tammy and Andy escape the walls of the quarantine zone to visit their old home, they find more than old memories. Pandora’s box of horror opens quickly in this hour and 40 minute thriller, as the virus inevitably returns to the safe zone and those infected begin to wreak havoc on loved ones and the world. US army.

Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner, Harold Perrineau and Catherine McCormack also put in great performances as they scramble to get out of the country however they can, but it’s really Carlyle, Poots and Muggleton who sell this sequel as that family trying to come to terms with a past tragedy, even as they find themselves in the midst of a new, even more gruesome one. –JS

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