As far as the genre goes, there were a lot more films that I found to be mediocre than ones that I outright hated, which made compiling this list extremely easy. If I were to generalize 2011, I’d say the biggest problem was that a lot of the films were too long. Many of them could’ve benefitted from being 20 minutes shorter, or even just being a short rather than feature-length. Then, of course, there are others that just simply shouldn’t have been made – I’m still having nightmares about Peter Sarsgaard’s giant deformed head in Green Lantern. Bereavement and Hellraiser: Revelations were disqualified because I couldn’t sit through more than 20 minutes of either – life is too short, guys.
Out of the ten films on my worst-of list (plus three horrible mentions), five are sequels or prequels (which shouldn’t surprise anyone), three were directed by once prominent names in horror, one is an abomination of a script that was pretty good once upon a time, and all of them are hard to sit through. Not counting the horrible mentions, I would award each film one skull, putting them all on an even playing field. Putting them in sequential order was extremely difficult and even though I’m happy with my final decision, just remember: I hate them all equally (for different reasons)!
Surprisingly, this is not the worst Children Of The Corn sequel, but the severe lack of sickles and Billy Drago acting in something that isn’t The Adventures Of Brisco County Jr. doesn’t help its case much. It starts out familiar enough with a young couple’s car breaking down in the middle of nowhere and there’s a killer kid, but in all honesty, this is a cheaply made remake of the It’s a Good Life episode of The Twilight Zone with the added bonus of stock footage from Bad Boys II.
This movie played on 1500 screens opening weekend. My mind is blown. It plays out like it was made with a T-and-A gorefest in mind, but the end result is a collection of off-screen kills and… um, untitillating sexuality. The story itself is completely stupid, and a character even comments on how dumb the mythology of the film is. The meta quip is probably smarter than the filmmakers intended it to be, but the whole thing is still awful.
A really drawn out and boring siege flick masquerading as a cannibal tale in which no one gets eaten. Brilliant!
Husk’s mythology is culled from several better movies, and even stoops to including the most cliché character archetypes out there. Equal parts Children Of The Corn, Scarecrows and The Hidden, it’s as Frankensteinian as possible and is only original in the sense that those three films have never been compounded into one story before. It does nothing to break the streak of bad scarecrow flicks we’ve had for the past thirty years, and insists that you be completely brain dead to not notice the gaping plot holes that drive the story forward.
Laid To Rest was mind-numbingly vapid, but Chromeskull takes the cake. At least I got the sense that Rob Hall knew there wasn’t much of a plot in the original, but here he tries to cram a lot of half-baked ideas in that go unexplained. Why would anyone help Chromeskull, let alone an organization of people? Who exactly are these people? Where do they get their money? What is the point of it all? How do they pick their victims? My list of questions goes on and on and on. The kills look nice, but they’re extremely repetitive; almost all of them deal with head/face trauma, and it gets old real fast.
A very boring update of Single White Female, which hasn’t aged too well and didn’t exactly feel fresh when it came out. The Roommate‘s biggest flaw is that it’s just plain old BORING, BORING, BORING. Absolutely nothing interesting happens plot, performance, cinematography, or direction-wise, and it feels like a limp, wet noodle going through the motions with a bunch of hired guns behind the camera.
If someone other than Carpenter had been at the helm of The Ward, then no one would be talking about it. It’s stale in every way and while Heard gives the best performance in the film, it’s hard to sympathize with her supposedly confused and vulnerable character when she’s acting like a cigar chomping action star. Fans have been hounding Carpenter for a new feature for years and if his answer was The Ward, then it’s best that he stick with watching basketball and leave the filmmaking to people who actually WANT to make films.
Julia X is basically 90 minutes of Kevin Sorbo punching two women in the face – and vice versa – while shouting lame wisecracks like “This is the best date I’ve had in years.” The ironic humor feels like a collection of failed rim shots, made more painful by the fact that all of the characters are terrible, terrible people. The script fails to establish someone to root for and it basically amounts to men and women going out of their way to hurt each other just because.
I actually raised a middle finger to the screen as the credits started to roll on The Thing, which was one of the laziest cash-ins in eons. Aside from a short scene at the end that chronologically places it before Carpenter’s film, it’s a really bad remake of a re-interpretation that removes all the things that made the 1981 version great: memorable characters, dialogue and practical effects. My mind is still blown by the virus/creature not wanting to disguise itself for giant chunks of time, and who the hell could take Mary Elizabeth Winstead seriously with a flame-thrower?
The meta-approach is a great idea in concept, but Six drops the ball with Full Sequence. In an attempt to prime us for what will most likely be a crime against cinema when he takes the concept into God knows what direction the next time around, it offers up plenty of empty sequences involving feces eating, masturbating with various uncomfortably textured objects, and unsanitary surgical procedures, but can’t even be considered art. There’s no feeling, thought or emotion coursing through its veins; it’s just Six’s attempt to deliver on the hyperbole and accusations of grossness the first film promised but didn’t deliver.
While it has its fair share of witty dialogue and a few bright spots (Cox and Arquette are still as fun as ever, and Panettiere is well cast), Scream 4 feels like a beleaguered epilogue to a story that should have ended after the second film. The reveal and motive, while relevant to today’s pop culture climate and fairly satisfying overall, could have given birth to a new trilogy, but instead overstays its welcome and leads to a finale which, as one character puts it, should have ended back at the house and I couldn’t agree more – this thing is the Return Of The King of slasher films.
It’s not even that the film is bad because it deviates from the source material; it’s bad because everything from the script to the direction feels manufactured. Aside from Tom Sanders’ production design and Don Macauley’s art direction, which work together to realize a fairy tale universe just the way I imagined it, there’s nothing particularly interesting or artistic about Red Riding Hood. Johnson’s screenplay references elements from the source material and other stories – such as filling a dead body with stones so it’ll sink and three men wearing pig masks – in a fun, playful way, but ultimately seems more concerned with using contrived romantic plot points and creating a million red herrings than capturing the whimsy of a timeless story.
The bulk of Burke & Hare’s comedy revolves around the two men making awkward faces at each in other in disgust of hauling around dead bodies, or being in the same vicinity as a cauldron of feces. When the actors and script fail to deliver any chuckles, the editing takes a swipe at it but stumbles even harder as Hare plows his wife in bed, only to have her stare off and moan apathetically before it quickly cuts to the next scene.