The year is winding down and we’re about to say goodbye to both 2009 and the decade. Helping us look back at this past year is David Harley, one of Bloody Disgusting’s long-time contributing writers who resides in Orlando, FL with Tex Massacre and Horror Guy Keenan. Beyond the break you’ll find Harley’s picks for the 5 worst films of 2009. Watch for Mr. Disgusting’s list tomorrow.
David Harley (Best/Worst) | Ryan Daley (Best/Worst)
DAVID HARLEY’S BOTTOM 5 OF 2009
What kills me the most is that this was supposed to be a fun movie. When I read the script, I felt it was predictable but fun; if the journey getting to the end is enjoyable, it doesn’t really matter what happens during the big reveal. There’s still a sense of disappointment but it’s lessened substantially. One of the problems with Sorority Row is that nothing that happens between the inciting incident and the reveal is interesting. The death scenes were extremely tame and if there wasn’t a brief topless scene and some F-bombs, this could have been a PG-13 flick very easily. It’s a little too tame. I Know What You Did Last Summer is much more effective at presenting the same plot, which is basically a rip-off of the original Sorority Row, which is a rip-off of countless other films. If you’re going to do something so derivative, throw in some fun stuff and I’m not just talking about a weird sense of humor – which the film has but only got one or two laughs out of me but boy, did it try! It also commits one of the biggest no-nos of cinema: don’t put in stuff that won’t be relevant in a few years. Nobody watching this is going to care about iPhone apps and Facebook jokes a few years from now. For shame!
The return of Jason Voorhees seems to have left most of us split. Some praise the film for its return to a simpler slasher formula that harkens back to the 80s: tits, blood, thin plot, more tits. Others rag on the film for its incompetency, strange choice of lighting and cinematography (this is not TCM, guys), cliché characters, and eye-rolling and groan inducing sequences and plot points. Personally, I’m with the latter. I appreciate what they were trying to do but ultimately, everyone involved failed miserably. All of a sudden, Jason Voorhees is a kidnapper, he lives in an underground military bunker (which kind of takes away the mystery of how he gets around so easily and hides so efficiently), the discovery of his mask is so anticlimactic, and we’re given his back story not once, but twice, because as an audience, we’re too stupid to put the pieces together ourselves. Characters live up to stereotypes and, instead of being funny or campy, are often annoying. It’s not even that I wanted these characters to die; it’s just that I wish they hadn’t gone to the lake for the weekend and been in the movie. Here’s hoping they go with that winter setting for the sequel.
I’m going to come clean before I start rambling on about Zombie’s second Halloween effort: I didn’t really like the first one – though I will admit that the first half was surprisingly better than I anticipated. After the Weinstein’s juggled around directors like a rousing game of hot potato, Zombie finally stepped up to the plate, leaving Tyrannosaurus Rex on the backburner for the time being (which is the movie we all really wanted to see anyway). I don’t really know what I expected out of Halloween II; he promised that it would be nothing like the original but we all know how that turned out the first time around. Lo and behold, he did deliver on his promise this time and, boy, was it ever different. Hobo Michael Myers, rocker-chick Laurie Strode and pompous Dr. Loomis don’t even intersect storylines until the third act, leaving the build-up to be rather… well, boring. Some of the better scenes and ideas seem to be culled directly from the White Zombie videography, but they don’t really make sense in the context of the film to anyone except Zombie. It’s bat-shit crazy, which is more than I can say for the first entry; however, that doesn’t make it good in the slightest way. But I will say this: it’s definitely HIS film.
This is one of those films that I don’t get the love for. Sure, there’s a few instances of neat gore and the killer looks cool – which is why it isn’t the worst thing I’ve seen this year – but as a film, it doesn’t really go anywhere, do anything different, or inspire scares. To top it all off, the entire dilemma could’ve been avoided if the main character hadn’t of snapped the phone cord by walking across the room to check out a cadaver out of curiosity. As the film goes on, characters constantly make stupid decisions in order to showcase the talents of Almost Human. So, basically, this is a film that’s built around gore set pieces, and while that can sometimes be interesting, there’s nothing aesthetically pleasing about Laid To Rest.
This is THE example of why a film gets shuffled around on the release schedule. Amusement is a film with absolutely no redeeming qualities, devoid of any thought or effort. Upon watching it the first time, I was completely confused. I was under the impression that it was an anthology film, but my suspicions weren’t confirmed until halfway through the movie. It seemed totally random (and unentertaining). I still don’t understand the motivation of some of the characters, particularly in the first story, and thought the wrap-around story needed a lot of work. Oh, and it’s completely predictable too.