This is where I usually say “Oh, come on guys. This year in horror wasn’t THAT bad.” I won’t be saying that this year. Why? Because it was. In 2014, the good was great. Unfortunately, despite my Best Of list being the longest it’s ever been, a higher percentage of the year’s releases were pure crap. So…much…crap. To be honest, there was a long period of 2014 where I didn’t watch any new stuff, only my old favorites. My need to see everything wasn’t as strong this year, therefore I avoided a lot of stuff that I knew was gonna be rotten. Had I been more of a cinematic masochist, the ratio of badassery to sucktitude might be even worse. However, in an attempt to be positive about the year, I’m doing a Top 13 instead of a Top 10 while keeping my Worst list at the same number. So let’s rid ourselves of these five cinematic turds before we celebrate the killer flicks that came out last year, shall we?
Note: I couldn’t bring myself to watch Ouija, Annabelle, or As Above So Below. I’d be willing to bet that my list may look different if I had.
Dishonorable Mentions: Leprechaun Origins, SX Tape, Camp Dread, Deliver Us From Evil, Stage Fright, Housebound, all of those flicks in the found footage resurgence.
It happens all the time on sitcoms; a character does something that catches on with the audience so the writers then zero in on it, overuse it, and make it annoying. Such is the case here. I liked the first Sharknado, and I LOVE me some Sharktopus. Hell, I love most of Syfy’s intentionally bad movies. The problem with the follow ups to their two most successful shark flicks is that they were too self-aware. These types of movies are usually so much fun because, despite the ludicrous situations, they’re played straight. The movie doesn’t acknowledge that it’s bad. These two traded that deadly-earnest delivery for a whole lot of “wink-wink-nudge-nudge.” They veered off into spoof territory and lost all of their bite in the process. It’s a damn shame too. I was pretty damn excited for a second helping of ‘Pus.
4. Devil’s Due
Facebook: Early January
Me - The trailer for Devil's Due looks terrible. I have a feeling it's gonna suck.
Everyone else - Shut up Nathan. It looks great. You're just a horror elitist. You don't want to like it because it's a Hollywood flick.
Me - No, it just looks like a bad movie.
Facebook: Two Weeks Later
Everyone else - Devil's Due sucked! I can't believe I spent money on that!
Me - I tried to tell...
Everyone else - Shut up, Nathan.
For the third consecutive time (Texas Chainsaw 3D - 2013, The Devil Inside – 2012), the first major horror release of the year has made my worst list. Woman in Black 2, this does not bode well for you.
3. Dracula Untold
More like Dracula Unwatchable. Am I right? Let’s see, where to start? The laughable acting? The hilariously melodramatic atmosphere? The hordes of CGI bats? Dracula suddenly being able to control the weather like a Halle Berry? Drac’s lore being shat upon by adding a silver vulnerability? Oh, I know. How about the horribly lazy script? For example: in one climactic scene, when he is called “Impaler” Vlad screams “That is no longer my name! I am Dracula, son of the devil!” Minutes later, he impales someone and says “You forget who I am.” But didn’t you just say… oh, forget it. This just sucked. Not in the way the King of the Vampires is supposed to suck either. The Twilighting of Dracula. Ugh.
2. I, Frankenstein
I get that some of you are into that Underworld “loud, dumb CGI action flick with horror elements” thing. Good on ‘ya. Just leave classic, beloved, complex characters out of your mindless fun. I’ve long held the belief that there is no such thing as a movie with no redeeming value. I may have been wrong. I cannot, for the life of me, find anything to like about this shitfest. It’s too bad to even be unintentionally entertaining. Even Aaron freakin’ Eckhart was bad in this. With the announcement that Universal wants to take their classic monster franchises in a more action oriented direction, I, Frankenstein is exactly what I’m afraid of. This tale told by an idiot proves that a flick doesn’t even need to be all that loud or furious to signify nothing. If you have no idea what I just referenced, you probably dug I, Frankenstein. Hell, Dracula Untold too for that matter.
Did you hear that? That was all of the horror hipsters mustering up just enough anger to be pissed at me but still look cool and unaffected. Sounded a lot like a tape getting eaten by a VCR, didn’t it? Anyway, just about every Top 10 Of 2014 list I’ve seen has contained the worst flick of the year. I’ll try to be brief about why this movie is 2014’s epitome of suck here since I’ve already gone on lengthy rants on the Picking Brains Podcast (check out those episodes HERE and HERE). Basically, the film begins as a found footage film, then proceeds to do a multitude of things to betray that setup; including but not limited to dolly shots, lighting tricks, multiple camera angles occurring simultaneously when there is only one camera present, a shot/reverse shot conversation, and half of the movie consisting of footage from a camera that was destroyed on screen. It completely fails as a movie through a complete lack of any continuity or logic. Ti West was either too lazy and sloppy to fix the obvious issues with his film or insulted the audience’s intelligence by assuming that they wouldn’t notice. To me, neither of those things are forgivable, especially from an indie horror darling who is supposed to be the future of the genre. What perturbs me more than the actual ineptitude of The Sacrament, however, is the fact that no one seems to have noticed. The two good performances and glacially slow pace (aka what passes for suspense these days) seem to have been enough to throw the majority of the horror audience off the trail of West’s inability to hold the film’s basic premise together. Ask any of the Westophiles about the glaring lack of attention to detail and they either respond with an Idiocracy-level “Uh, I didn’t notice” or a passive-aggressively accusatory “I didn’t nitpick and let it ruin the movie for me.” Yet these were the same people lambasting TCM3D for its screwed up timeline. The Sacrament is the worst film of the year not only because it displayed a complete disregard for the art of filmmaking, but because it brought me to the realization that quality truly does not matter to the majority of moviegoers anymore and that horror fans, as a whole, are deserving of the insult that Ti West hurled at them. We have been force fed crap for so long that most moviegoers consider it the standard. THAT, Cellmates, is the true horror of The Sacrament.