For the past two years, this is where I've been Mr. Positive and said “I don’t care if everyone else is proclaiming that this was an abysmal year for the horror genre, I thought it was great.” This year, however, I’m on the “damn, it really was a bad horror year” side. Don’t get me wrong, 2012 definitely produced some great flicks, but man did it give us a lot of foul film feces too. I’ll happily take one for the team and sift through it all for you though, Cellmates; because I believe the old adage that without the dark, there is no light. Without a villain, there can be no hero. Without nu-metal, there can be no real metal. In the world of horror flicks, it means that without sifting through a multitude of sucktitude, you wouldn’t find those precious nuggets of badassery. I’m gonna share said badass nuggets with you starting tomorrow, but first, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least try to save you the trouble of watching these five atrocities. Ladies, gentlemen, and everything in between…I present to you The Five Worst Horror Flicks Of 2012.
This is a very divisive movie. It’s actually showing up on a lot of top 10 lists, but it lands on my worst flicks list for one main reason…I find most hipsters unbearably annoying. Therefore, by proxy, I hate hipster humor and hipster movies like Napoleon Dynamite, Juno, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and Detention. If hipsterism ever truly becomes mainstream, then this is what will happen to horror cinema. That absolutely cannot be allowed to happen. It’s a film awash in that style of comedy that continually pokes the audience to say “Hey, did ‘ya see that? Wasn’t it funny?” If you have to do that, then no, it wasn’t. Basically, this flick is trying way too hard for snarky coolness. It’s the cinematic equivalent of that 12 year old sporting a brand new “distressed look” Pink Floyd ’73 tour shirt his parents paid 35 bucks for at Hot Topic.
To be fair, it did have one inspired sequence (the detention room parade of teen eras), but getting to the end of this one became a war of attrition against the movie itself. If you want to see how it’s possible cram as many references as possible into a flick and actually be funny about it, then watch The FP. Otherwise, just find a couple of those guys with the skinny jeans and meticulously disheveled hair, get them jacked up on cocaine (note: it might have to be soy-coke) and whatever energy drink the mainstream hasn’t caught onto yet, then listen to them argue for an hour and a half. That would be roughly the same experience as watching Detention.
4. The Devil Inside
I just went back and looked at my initial review of this flick from January, and I was WAY too generous. I gave it one severed thumb up. What the hell was I thinking? I still stand by my opinion that there is a 20 minute or so stretch of this film that is pretty good. Unfortunately, it’s preceded by an unoriginal and entirely tepid first hour. What follows the good portion is what makes it deserving of the vitrol spewed at it by horror fans and its place on this list though; the worst rip-off ending of the year. Hell, it might be the worst ending in horror history. It just stopped. No logical conclusion, no closure, no well crafted cliffhanger, nothing. It just stops. They actually expected viewers to go to the film’s website for the rest of the story. As I said in my original review, “Screw that, screw you, screw your ending; and god help us, if that was your way of setting up a sequel, screw The Devil Inside Strikes Back too!”
I hate deriding this kind of micro-budget “labor of love” type of flick, but this one was just plain boring. The problem was that NOTHING happened. For the first half hour, we watch tedious vacation style “found footage” of a couple driving to their new house. Then we watch as they explore the grounds and settle in. Then they start in on a little hanky panky in a haunted house. Time for the spooky stuff to kick in right? Not by a long shot. A spider pulls a little coitus interruptus, and the couple goes to a bar for the next 10 minutes. When they get home, the girl has a slightly unsettling dream, so we’re treated to them spending 8 more minutes taking turns reading from an online paranormal forum. Get the picture? When the film finally gets to the point in the last 10 minutes, it’s too little too late. The title is the only cold, creepy feeling to be had here. For the record, this was my first, and to date only, actual two severed thumbs down review.
You know that third person shaky cam that I always bitch about? This is the epitome of everything I loathe about that style. Honestly, after watching the trailer, how many of you thought this was a found footage flick? Yeah, I did too. It’s not, but it’s shot like one. Why would anyone do that you ask? For the same reason most movies employ this cheap blight on modern cinematography; they’re attempting to create artificial action and tension to cover up for the fact that the filmmakers failed to create any within the actual story. That alone would be enough to call it one of the worst flicks of the year. But wait, there’s more.
Leah, my most frequent movie watching companion, is my scare meter. She’s a pretty easy startle. After thousands of horror flicks and almost 20 years in the haunt business, I’m too jaded to be a good judge of the effectiveness of jump scares, so I use her for that purpose. She didn’t jump once. If you can’t get a rise out of her, you have officially failed in the scare department. That’s still not the end of the suckage to be had here.
Chernobyl Diaries had one thing, and only one thing, going for it; that great setting. Chernobyl is creepy as hell. So what did the filmmakers do? They set the second half of the flick in a dark underground labyrinth, effectively nullifying the one selling point of the film. While we were in the ruined city, it was at least kinda cool to look at. Then again, as spastic as the camera was during all of the “action,” we wouldn’t have been able to get a good look at anything anyway. Chernobyl is a killer setting for a horror movie. Hopefully someone makes a decent one there someday. I saw this one at the discount theater, where tickets are $1.99, and still felt ripped off.
And the winner, er, loser...
And the winner, er, loser...
I should have known better. I told myself that I wasn’t going to subject myself to any more found footage movies outside of the PA series. I loathe the vast majority of them. Notice how 3 of my top 5 are found footage flicks and one might as well have been? Point made. How did they get me to break my oath and watch a FFF? They promised me dinosaurs. It had to be dinosaurs. You bastards. Dinosaurs are, like Nazis, bad movie kryptonite to the Son of Celluloid. I love dinosaurs. Led by my dino-love, I gave this flick a chance against my better judgment. Wouldn’t you know it, it turned out to be a bait and switch. There are less than 10 seconds of dinosaur footage in this movie. Yes, less than 10 seconds. To make matters worse, every last shot of the dinosaur(s?) is in the damn trailer! It’s a dinosaur-less dinosaur movie. So, if less than .1% - not 1% mind you, but POINT ONE PERCENT - of this flick contains dinosaurs, then what in the green hell could the rest of the movie possibly consist of?
After the plane crash 15 minutes in, it’s 75 minutes of people pointing into the darkness and screaming “What was that?” and “Did you see that?” Yes, that’s really all it is. The whole point of a FFF is realism, right? Well, let’s just say that you’re in a large, dark area with unknown monsters and someone panics, points into the darkness, and yells “what the hell is that?” What would you do instinctively? Right, you’d look too. Not in this flick. The camera never leaves the survivors. Never. It’s painfully obvious that the camera operators were instructed to do everything in their power not to catch any of the action, or anything interesting at all for that matter, in the frame. All of the deaths occur offscreen. Yup, every last one of ‘em. Literally all we see is annoying characters yelling at each other, pointing at things we don’t get to see, freaking out, crying, and running in the dark. It’s as if someone bet the director that he couldn’t make a movie entirely out of reaction shots.
What we end up with is a movie that not only epitomizes every overwrought, overdone, and played out weakness of the found footage subgenre; but cheats the viewer out of the promised hook, which was the only reason to watch the movie in the first place. Congratulations Area 407, you are the worst horror movie of the year. Think about that for a minute. You were worse than every remake released in 2012. You were worse than every neutered PG-13 teen thriller that the major studios vomited forth this year. In fact, you are the first indie flick that this staunch indie horror supporter has named “Worst Horror Flick of the Year!” I would much rather slap Hollywood around, so don’t ever make me do that again, please. Basically, I can sum up my feelings about Area 407 with a quote from a REAL dinosaur movie…”That is one big pile of shit!”