9 straight-to-DVD sequels that are actually good

It’s easy to be negative about straight-to-DVD sequels as, quite often, they are a bit rubbish at best and a cynical cash-in at worst.

We’re here to tell you, though, that it’s not a complete wasteland and there are sequels to classic – and sometimes, not so classic – movies that are worth your precious time. Here are nine of the best.

1. The Lion King 1½

While some may favour The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride (a more conventional sequel), we’re picking The Lion King 1½ for its clever concept that revisits the classic Disney movie from the perspectives of Timon and Pumbaa, bringing back Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella.

As an added bonus, it has meta humour at the beginning when the duo comment on the original movie.

2. Curse of Chucky

Cult slasher movie Child’s Play has spawned a franchise that runs to this very day and its first straight-to-DVD sequel, Curse of Chucky, is arguably the best sequel of the entire franchise.

The killer doll is back and wreaking revenge on the family who were responsible for his human death. It’s a return to the horror of the original movie, largely avoiding the comedy of the sequels, and it’s all the better for it.

3. The Animatrix

This could be a bit of a cheat as some of the shorts involved were released online before being packaged as an anthology called The Animatrix.

However, the animated collection that fleshes out the world of The Matrix is better than either of the sequels, so it deserves its place on the list. It’s a must-see for fans and the gorgeous animation makes it a shame that it didn’t get a big-screen release.

4. The Return of Jafar

Despite the fact that Robin Williams didn’t return as the Genie, we’ve got a soft spot for Aladdin sequel The Return of Jafar as it was the first straight-to-DVD sequel for Disney.

It’s little more than an extended pilot for the TV show that was to follow, but The Simpsons‘ Dan Castellaneta does a fine job of stepping into Williams’ considerable shoes, and there’s plenty of adventure and fun for children.

5. Wrong Turn 2: Dead End

A rare example of a straight-to-DVD sequel being better than the movie that spawned it, Wrong Turn 2: Dead End follows a group of people foolishly taking part in a survival reality-TV show in the woods.

Naturally, carnage ensues and director Joe Lynch masterfully delivers it all, knowing exactly the kind of movie he’s working on.

6. Undisputed II: Last Man Standing

There’s a strong chance you haven’t even heard of 2002 boxing drama Undisputed, let alone Undisputed II: Last Man Standing, or the two more sequels that followed.

Gone are the original movie’s stars Wesley Snipes and Ving Rhames and in comes Michael Jai White to replace Rhames as former boxer George ‘Iceman’ Chambers. The plot’s nonsense, but the MMA fights are excellent and impeccably performed.

7. Universal Soldier: Regeneration

After some decidedly dodgy TV-movie sequels, Universal Soldier: Regeneration revived the franchise by disregarding what had come before, except for the original movie.

Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren both returned to reprise their original roles and the result is not big or clever, but it is an unashamed B-movie that plays to its strengths. It also led to an equally solid sequel in Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning.

8. Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves

Sure, it’s not a patch on the original, but Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves is a lot better than the first sequel Honey, I Blew Up The Kid and switches things up by having the adults shrink themselves – if you didn’t guess from the title – to fun effect.

It’s also significant in that it marks the last on-screen appearance of Rick Moranis, as he’s only made voice appearances since.

9. Tremors 2: Aftershocks

It seems we’re destined to never have a new Tremors TV series after the latest attempt got axed, so it’s lucky that the Tremors franchise shows no sign of slowing down with straight-to-DVD sequels.

There have been five sequels so far – up to 2018’s Tremors: A Cold Day In Hell – and we’re not saying they’re all Graboid gold. However, Tremors 2: Aftershocks is a lot of fun and sees Michael Gross having a blast as hunter Burt Gummer as he became the franchise’s new lead.

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