Like sequels and superhero universes, remakes of popular films that carry name recognition continue to dominate Hollywood release schedules. Remakes of movies that didn’t perform that well to begin with, however, are significantly less common endeavors for studios to embark on. Yet that is the mission currently being undertaken by Screen Gems, with the company developing a remake of the 1971 British horror/thriller film See No Evil.
Directed by prolific filmmaker Richard Fleischer — helmer of over 40 films, including Soylent Green and Conan the Destroyer –– the original See No Evil (a.k.a. Blind Terror) stars Mia Farrow as Sarah, a recently blinded woman who heads to her uncle’s house for a visit. While out on the town with her boyfriend Steve, Sarah’s family becomes a serial killer’s latest victims. Not wanting to wake anyone up at such a late hour, Sarah returns from her date and quietly heads to bed, unaware she shares a house with corpses. The next day, Sarah discovers the bodies, and an item accidentally left there by the killer. Unfortunately, the madman soon comes back to retrieve his keepsake, putting Sarah next on his hit list.
Critical reviews for See No Evil were mixed at the time, with many critics deriding the film as an unnecessary rip-off of the more well-known and regarded 1967 thriller Wait Until Dark, which starred Audrey Hepburn as a blind woman menaced by a pair of violent criminals. In addition to the mixed reviews, See No Evil was also considered a letdown at the box office, although exact numbers for the film aren’t readily available online. Still, the film has become a minor cult item over the years, so it’s not entirely out of left field that someone would want to remake it. Oddly enough, Wait Until Dark still itself has yet to be remade, potentially creating a scenario in which an eventual revamp of Dark ends up being viewed by many as a rip-off of the remake of See No Evil.
Penning the script for Screen Gems’ planned remake will be Mike Scannell, who recently wrote He’s Out There, another horror/thriller film for the studio. Bryan Bertino — writer and director of the 2008 hit home invasion flick The Strangers — is producing the project and served the same role on He’s Out There as well. A director for See No Evil has yet to be found.
Unlike most remakes, where it’s fairly clear going in that the new version has little hope of surpassing the original in either quality or audience acclaim, See No Evil presents a scenario where Hollywood could theoretically take a flawed but memorable story and attempt to fix what went wrong the first time. Now, Screen Gems just needs to find an actress as talented as Farrow to play the lead role.
The See No Evil remake is in early development, and has no current release date.