BY RYAN LATTANZIO
Note to Hollywood: thinking of remaking an Alfred Hitchcock movie? Think again.
Hitchcock remakes have ranged from the bland (2007’s Rear Window-lite Disturbia) to the blah (A Perfect Murder) to the godawful (Gus van Sant’s pretentious shot-by-shot miscreation of Psycho). Often misguided and more often just pointless, these films are cursed to fail. While David Fincher and Gillian Flynn may have cannily dodged that hex by officially basing their forthcoming Strangers on a Train update on Patricia Highsmith’s novel, they aren’t out of the woods yet. Precedent does not bode well.
There are clever ways of repurposing the master of suspense. While Brian De Palma never could quite disguise his flamboyant homages — whether in “Vertigo”-esque Obsession (1976), since reviled by its screenwriter Paul Schrader, sexy Rear Window tribute Body Double (1984) or in the lurid Hitchcockian medley Dressed to Kill, which plays like a cover album of Hitch’s greatest hits — these films do have cinematic pizzazz. We won’t be seeing much of that in tentpole factory Michael Bay’s still-incubating remake of “The Birds,” if it even happens. (Remember that in the late 2000s, the Internet did kill his hopes of remaking Roman Polanski’s “Rosemary’s Baby.”)
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