I suppose you could really blame Asia for all of this. Hell, I do.
Somewhere during the ’80s, our brothers and sisters in Japan decided to incorporate some of the classic elements from their timeless (not to mention creepy) ghost stories into cinema. At the time, a popular and cost-effective method of filmmaking was what we commonly refer to as “direct-on-video” (often referred to as “V-Cinema”): movies that were made specifically for the home video market, and that were not restrained by any sort of censorship laws.
Although horror films were hardly new in Japan, the V-Cinema boom spawned an entire phenomenon of what enthusiasts now call “J-Horror” — wherein indie moviemakers started to crank out one disturbing horror film after another. Much like the bird flu epidemic, the J-Horror phenomenon caught on with other parts of the continent. Soon, even countries like Korea were making their own creepy “K-Horror” films.
Then, around the beginning of the 21st Century, the American film industry finally received word that there were people in Asia making movies. Not only were they making films that didn’t revolve around Godzilla or Jackie Chan, but that the crafty devils were (gasp) manufacturing horror films that were comprised of original material! Naturally, we couldn’t sit back idly and permit this sort of thing to happen — even if it had been happening for the better part of twenty years.
So, American studios began remaking Asian horror films (J-Horror and K-Horror alike). And, to ensure that American audiences didn’t feel uncomfortable over seeing nothing but Asians onscreen (to say nothing of alienating viewers even further by making them read subtitles), our remakes cast a lot of white folks; white folks that suddenly found themselves being besieged by ancient Asian beliefs and superstitions that make absolutely no sense to us in the first place.
And since originality has never really been a strong point with modern American filmmakers, we inevitably began to produce direct-to-video sequels to films that were remakes of direct-to-video films to begin with.