If I were to compile an honest list of the truly awful films I watched in 2011, it would be dominated by the homemade screeners we critics receive on a weekly basis. But it’s no fun ripping on bad movies nobody is ever going to see, so I’ve chosen to focus on bigger releases, giving a pass to the shittier efforts that have crossed my path this year.
In short, I’ve definitely seen worst DVDs in 2011 than the five listed below. But trust me, you don’t want to hear about those.
Not the worst genre fare of 2011, but the first season of The Walking Dead was certainly the most disappointing. The creators have got the premieres and finales totally nailed…it’s all the episodes in between that suck. The banal plotting leaves the characters treading water for hour after hour, and while the zombie effects are amazing, they’re used far too sparingly to satisfy. With its pilot episode The Walking Dead established itself as a kick-ass zombie series with a hint of drama…only to quickly regress to a sappy melodrama with a hint of zombies. We’ve all talked with our friends about how much cooler this show would be if we could write it ourselves…don’t pretend you haven’t.
Putting two Wes Craven movies in my bottom five makes me feel guilty for a variety of reasons, one of which is the knowledge that a lot of you actually dug Scream 4. As a monster fan of the franchise (I saw Scream on opening day and three subsequent times in the theater), I still found this fourth installment to be tedious, silly, and dull, a complete departure from the high energy of the first two films. I’m still not quite sure what movie you guys were watching.
There are times when a critic is completely misaligned with the opinions of the viewing public, and this is certainly one of those times. I’m still completely stumped by the rampant love for this movie, which I view as an awkward and boring homage to 70s exploitation that can’t hold a candle to similar (and superior) efforts like Black Dynamite or Planet Terror. (And I’ve seen it twice!) I’m serious, I just don’t get it.
With a decided lack of bug-eyed Nick Cage rants, Season of the Witch doesn’t have much to recommend it. It repeatedly attempts to redeem itself with gorgeous landscapes, but when compared to first-rate efforts like Black Plague, it looks as weak and anemic as a plague victim. Not even the usually reliable Ron Perlman can rescue this unholy snooze.
Funny story: a horror-loving friend recommended this movie. Seriously. With a straight face. After sitting through a prologue that featured a dream sequence, demon voices, a police shoot-out, a throat-slitting, and an ambulance explosion, I was fairly certain I was watching a movie helmed by an ADD-addled pre-teen, and that my friend was playing an enormous prank on me. How else can you view My Soul to Take, other than as a monster joke on its intended audience?
Dishonorable Mentions: Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, Red State, Seconds Apart