Making a sequel is a gamble.
Every filmmaker and studio has a reason for building a franchise. It could be a hit storyline or a likeable character. When an idea hits bullseye, you know people want more.
Most consider it a safe bet, thanks to the initial success of a project. Sequels usually rake in a lot of money as audiences are already hooked by what they first experienced. Surely, they’ll come back.
That being said, it’s a damn hard job to do.
Recreating a hit requires intelligent imagination. Which is why such few sequels live up to expectations. An unfortunate majority fails to give plots and characters a fresh lease of life. They’re boring repetitions of their predecessors, coming across as dragged, forced and completely unnecessary versions of used up formulas. We often wonder why they were even made in the first place.
It’s called Sequelitis, a virus that catches up with anyone in the way of making a sequel. The immunity against this is very low.
But some sequels shine with new concepts and twists that elevate the originals instead of ridiculing them. You need solid vision to meet such a challenge because a hell lot of pressure is riding on the filmmaker to do justice to both the instalments.
Sadly, that happens very rarely.
Here are 25 horrible sequels to celebrated movies that left us feeling like we’d been cheated in the name of cinema.
1. The Hangover Part II
Sequel to: The Hangover
A wild, drugged out bachelor party in Las Vegas that almost ends in irreparable disaster; not only the plot but even the entire cast’s acting and hilarious mishaps nailed this hit movie. But when you run the same plot with exactly the same events again, it doesn’t cut it. The jokes weren’t funny in Thailand. Not all hit formulas work twice and they become dragged and boring, just like the second movie.
2. Taken 2
Sequel to: Taken
Damn, Liam Neeson really established his status as an action hero with his unexpected blockbuster, that too in his mid 50s. That isn’t an easy task in Hollywood, you guys! The incredible chase in Paris to get his daughter back from the bad guys kept us all at the edge of our seats. Not so much though when we saw the exact same stuff 4 years later. How many times can you be a saviour daddy or super spy? And wait, there’s a third as well. Imagine.
3. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Sequel to: Transformers
Optimus Prime can’t always save the day. Unlike the first, the second instalment of the Transformers series was an overdone, overacted and over-lengthy debacle of sorts. From America to Shanghai to Egypt, the complications never seem to end. So much is happening and none of it makes sense. Amazing special effects and glorious locations did nothing to help either. The mindless action was a complete waste of time.
4. Evan Almighty
Sequel to: Bruce Almighty
Bruce Almighty was the regular Joe who turned into God for a day so he could learn to appreciate and love life. That went really well, especially with Morgan Freeman playing the Lord. Next thing we knew, he turns to Evan and asks him to build an ark for a flood that’s kind of on its way. Evan happily becomes Noah and chills with animals all day. Someone save us from his garbage, for god’s sake.
5. Son of the Mask
Sequel to: The Mask
Jim Carrey’s iconic embodiment of a common man turned green-skinned riot was legendary. But it was totally killed off in the sequel. A creepy dude who makes a baby using the powers of the Mask replaced him. The goofball entertainment was gone forever. What an unfortunate disaster. We’ll miss who you truly could be, oh Mad Mask Man. No one can do what Carrey did.
6. The Karate Kid Part II
Sequel to: The Karate Kid
Say no to bullying and yes to self-defence was the message of this 80s martial arts wonder. It wasn’t just about fighting the bad guys but also one’s inner demons. The training process with Mr Miyagi gave way to a new respect for the art form. His chemistry with Daniel was magical. But as much as we love Mr Miyagi, we couldn’t deal with his 99 problems in the second stint. Suddenly, the man was dealing with family issues and lost loves. We were bored us to Japan and back.
7. Speed 2: Cruise Control
Sequel to: Speed
Speed was a sleeper mega-hit. It surprised everyone with its phenomenal success. It was an adrenaline-pumped ride that left everyone gasping for breath by the end. On the other hand, the poor follow-up by the same director was a job badly done. The bus was swapped with a giant cruise ship and the only Sandra Bullock remained from the first team. Can you imagine Speed without Keanu Reeves? Don’t even try.
8. The Pink Panther 2
Sequel to: The Pink Panther
Inspector Jacques Clouseau can survive any outrageous accident or blunder but he did crumple when hit by a bad script. The sequel to the tummy-splitting original was just so forced. New additions such as Aishwarya Rai didn’t make sense either. The earlier cast was also given weird roles with unnecessary twists. It was such a flop successor to a loved, popular comedy.
9. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Sequel to: Bridget Jones's Diary
Don’t we all just love Bridget?! That cute girl with the big heart and wide smile is still fresh in our memories. Which is why the sequel hurt. It completely exhausts the mantra that once worked. This sounds like the same old diary with a few, negligible updates. Even though the love triangle comes back, their charm doesn’t. What a pity.
10. Dumb and Dumber To
Sequel to: Dumb and Dumber
The two super dumb friends with hearts of gold sure did return, but not with a bang. The next segment of their loserhood is quite strange and made no sense. Their ridiculous tactics aren’t so funny anymore. First mobsters were chasing them for money and now they’re after a young girl for a bloody kidney. No, literally bloody. You’ll see. Actually, don’t. Just skip watching this one.
11. Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde
Sequel to: Legally Blonde
Reese Witherspoon took a character that could’ve easily been tagged as a hopeless bimbo and made it dignified, and a hell lot of fun. And as much as we wanted to see Elle again, it wasn’t with a cringeworthy story and mediocre performances in tow. The whole thing, banning animal testing by postponing her wedding, was pretty bad. Sorry, Elle. We expected much more.
Sequel to: Silence Of The Lambs
The whole world got the creeps from Hannibal Lector, the cannibalistic shrink and formidable figure made popular by the first movie based on the book. Jodie Foster’s role as Clarice Starling won an Oscar. But the sequel just fell flat on its face. Many factors contributed to this: the sadistically sarcastic new book that served as the screenplay, the replacement of old actors, and the overall packaging of the film. Even Anthony Hopkins couldn’t save it.
13. Jaws 2
Sequel to: Jaws
The first epic entertainer with sharks and humans beings attacked by sharks worked wonders. Steven Spielberg’s daring venture with blood and gut became a big entertainer across the world. The second try was pretty much dead though. It’s the same story with much less suspense. You don’t really feel the terror you did before. You’ll even laugh at some events. People are murdered by the creatures one by one because what else?
14. Exorcist II: The Heretic
Sequel to: The Exorcist
The Exorcist, one of the greatest worldwide hits, still sits on top of the list of iconic films. The battle between a possessed little girl and a priest, and a desperate mother’s struggle to win her daughter back successfully scared the living daylights out of everyone. It was the first horror to win an Oscar. That said, the sequel was listed as one of the worst movies of all time, to say the least. You’ll want to kill whoever is responsible for the unimaginable disaster. No kidding.
15. Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights
Sequel to: Dirty Dancing
Dirty Dancing is such a classic that to even dream of taking it forward would be a daunting task. Baby became every girl’s idol with her desire to dance, love and be free. This feel-good tale of moving feet and raging hormones transformed into the well-known rich girl meets poor boy story, sadly, with zero imagination. Except changed names and locations, there was nothing. Talk about murdering a legacy.
16. Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
Sequel to: The Blair Witch Project
The Blair Witch Project scared the hell out of people. It was the first movie to use the ‘footage’ route in horror. We were terrified to follow footsteps in the film. It seemed all too real and became an instant cult hit. Then came a quick sequel that so obviously wanted to just ride the success of its predecessor’s brand. Weak and pathetic, it never should’ve been made.
17. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Sequel to: Wall Street
The original came out in the 80s, when the finance world was becoming a blooming lure for millions and Wall Street was the hub of lions. This film actually inspired people to become stockbrokers; such was the impact. Greed was good, it said. Enter the sequel over a decade later, with Gordon Gecko out from retirement for more moolah. He shouldn’t have bothered, just like the director.
18. Damien: Omen II
Sequel to: The Omen
The Omen is probably one of the most legendary movies of all time, not just in the genre of horror. That demonic kid who kills his own parents because he’s some version of Satan on Earth still gives us the chills. When he’s all grown up in the second part and finds out who he is, he sets out to randomly murder again because what else was he supposed to do, right? Damien really should’ve stayed a kid forever; at least the evil was real.
19. Honey, I Blew Up the Kid
Sequel to: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
Who doesn’t remember this amazing childhood comedy? An over-excited scientist invents a shrinking machine and ends up shrinking his own kids in rushed eagerness to test his masterpiece. This leads to an epic adventure for the miniature children who’re thrown away with garbage. We all know how the story ends. The sequel tried using the opposite by enlarging the kid when he comes in contact with electricity. You’d think if tiny kids work, so should the giant. But it doesn’t. It was more like a giant mistake to begin with and just failed to amuse any of us.
20. The X-Files: I Want to Believe
Sequel to: The X-Files
The first movie came out in 1998 and it was adapted from the hit TV series of the same name. Audiences waited for the feature film version and the wait was definitely worth it. Humans were mysteriously dying and the badass ‘FBI agents’ had to get to the bottom of the case. It was nail-bitingly suspenseful. But the second round didn’t go so well. It was paranormal this time and unfortunately lame AF. It might be called The X-Files: I Want to Believe, but no one believed that shit.
21. Independence Day: Resurgence
Sequel to: Independence Day
Independence Day had been a guilty pleasure for all of us. The makers got it right in the first go and gave us an extravagant, visually stunning battle between humans and aliens to save Mother Earth. It was fantastically great. What followed though was a painfully cheesy and laughable sequel with one dumb move after another. The glory was gone and even the fans couldn’t bear to watch their favourite film tarnished like that.
22. The Ring Two
Sequel to: The Ring
No matter how scary she was, we all secretly wanted to meet Samara again because we like being scared out of our wits. The ‘videotape deaths’ became a rage and everyone got talking about the innovative horror series. Which is why it sucked that there was a complete lack of imagination later with a forced journey into Samara’s so-called sad past. We didn’t feel for either Samara or Rachel. Everything was just, you know, dead.
23. Basic Instinct 2
Sequel to: Basic Instinct
Sharon Stone emerged as the sex goddess we never know. So powerful in her seduction game and mind manipulation, she showed us what a beautiful riot a crazy woman can be. That leg-crossing scene is still in front of our eyes. But her game becomes shamefully weak when she picks her next prey in the next movie. The thrill was totally gone and the sexiness wasn’t so appealing anymore. Blame the director. Stone did her best.
24. Cars 2
Sequel to: Cars
Pixar animation’s ambitious venture gave us the most adorable fast car that was obsessed with winning every championship and trophy while on the tracks. But Lightening McQueen eventually learns a lesson that shows us how life is much more than just racing towards fame. It was fun and feel-good. The second ride with the racer car wasn’t so smooth though. In fact, it was quite a slow, bumpy journey with a troubled friend in tow. Seriously, you might even fall asleep in the backseat.
25. Jeepers Creepers 2
Sequel to: Jeepers Creepers
We’re still haunted by that unbelievable dungeon with brains and other body parts glued to the dingy walls like wallpaper. That moment when the sibling duo discovers the horrifying secret was sickeningly freaky but we weren’t complaining. The Creeper, the flesh-eating monster, gave us a thrilling chase for more blood. But it looks like he’s really tired of the same chase every 23 years. And it showed in the sequel.
RIP, sad sequels. You won't be missed. Not one bit.