Evil Dead II (1987): To their relative credit, most sequels do add something new, even if that thing simply turns out to be a new setting, a newborn or Rosie O’Donnell (Another Stakeout). The number of films that literally repeat the first is pretty slim. This list could be nothing but horror and Roger Corman franchises (like his Student Nurses cycle), but it’s fun that one of the most similar horror sequels is also very, very good. After a career hiccup that produced the little-loved Crimewave, Sam Raimi returned to his initial cult triumph, but rather than continue a story—as he would with the series’ third, Army of Darkness—he basically remade the first, only this time as a gory comedy. Good idea.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992): The axiom “Why fix what ain’t broke?” has never been put to more absurdly literal use than in the second tale of Macaulay Culkin’s brat being accidentally abandoned by his terrible parents. Repeating the original virtually down to the millisecond, the screenwriters did little but find Manhattan analogues for the first: the booby-trapped suburban manse becomes an abandoned row home; the scary-but-really-kindly neighbor is now a scary-but-really-kindly hobo, etc. Audiences predictably rewarded the laziness.
Weekend at Bernie’s II (1993): Note to Andrew McCarthy, et al.: corpses, like, decay. Yes, even after four years.
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999): More than any SNL vet, Mike Myers embodies the unfortunate trend toward repeating the exact same (allegedly) funny joke until it becomes anti-funny. And so, all the popular gags from International Man of Mystery get repeated (and in Goldmember , repeated again), and that’s awful—but the new stuff he comes up with ain’t bad. Create a “Dr. Evil” cut, omitting Powers entirely, and Shagged is a pretty solid short film.
Crank: High Voltage (2009): As with Evil Dead II, “redundant” need not be pejorative. Bringing its hero back from the dead, Neveldine/Taylor’s sequel finds more ways to exploit their exploitable premise, and not only succeed but go next level. This film is a masterpiece.
The Hangover Part II (2011): Screams Ed Helms: “I can’t believe this is happening again!” Indeed.