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[BEST & WORST ’12] Mr. Disgusting’s List of the Worst Horror Films of 2012!

I recently has a few conversations with people about posting “Worst of the Year” lists as it’s in a way “kicking a dog when it’s down.” Time could be better spent sending positive energy into the world, but on the same token it’s our job to critique films; we are supposed to provide advice on what you should and shouldn’t see.

With that said, it doesn’t provide me with any pleasure to list out this year’s biggest disappointments – but without the bad, how can we learn from other people’s mistakes? If there’s anything to take away from these films, it’s learning what not to do in film. The biggest lesson this year? Don’t pretend to be a horror fan to cash in on our loyalty (I’m looking at you Smiley).

Mr. Disgusting (Best/Worst) | Evan Dickson (Best/Worst) | David Harley (Best/Worst) | Lonmonster (Best/Worst) | Corey Mitchell (Best of Fest) | Supporting Staff (Best & Worst) | Ryan Daley (Best Novels)
Posters (Best/Worst) | Trailers (Best/Worst)


10. The Devil Inside (January 6; Paramount Pictures)

The “safest” horror movie ever made, featuring a few scares and a bunch if exposition. And while I’ve seen worse movies in my life, the lack of a third act is unforgivable. Who’s idea was it to end the movie with a website link for the finale? Epic fail. A fail for the ages.

9. Aftershock (TBD; Dimension Films)

Eli Roth is easily one of my favorite horror filmmakers, which is why this production was one of my most anticipated at TIFF. Unfortunately, this docu-styled thriller’s tone is unfocused and confusing. I was trying to figure out if is was supposed to be fun, scary, or was it supposed to be mean-spirited in an attempt to convey a message? At one point you’ll see an incredibly awesome gory kill, then there will be a joke or a joke-like death scene, and then rape. It’s impossible to emotionally get behind a movie that’s all over the place. It’s just so bizarre when you have hilarious moments trickled in-between extreme, realistic violence as if to make light of a serious situation. On a positive note, the scope was pretty huge for an indie production, and some of the actual earthquake scenes are great… when the movie finally gets to them.

8. No One Lives (TBD; Anchor Bay Films)

No One Lives, a WWE production, is mean-spirited horror that sets the genre back nearly a decade. It’s an obvious Hostel wannabe bloated with bad characters and acting. Take solice in the fact that the gore is out of control good. If only the filmmakers didn’t take the movie so seriously, it could have been cheesy fun.

7. The Apparition (August 24; Warner Bros. Pictures)

A haunter bogged down with heavy exposition, lack of rules, and a lackluster performance from Sebastian Stan. It’s unfocused and overdeveloped with the fingerprints of studio execs all over it.

6. Lords of Salem (April 26, 2013; Anchor Bay Films)

All the power to Rob Zombie for making the movie HE wants, but there are people out there who rely on him for entertainment. Rob Zombie’s “Sheri Moon” (as I like to call it), also known as The Lords of Salem, is a colorful and crafty spooker that is nothing but a strange shrine to his wife, Sheri. Horror fans will be disappointed and Rob Zombie fans should be too, assuming they don’t fool themselves into believing this is high art. It’s actually self-indulgent art.

5. The Bay (November 2; Freestyle Releasing)

I’m crazy perplexed by the love for The Bay, a film that’s so lackluster even the studio bailed on it (Lionsgate dumped is through Freestyle Releasing). The Found-Footage angle doesn’t really work in this one, mostly because the characters are constantly talking to the camera updating the viewer, while some footage isn’t even seen, just heard (like the cop car scene outside the house). Isopods aren’t scary, and the ending is so laughable that it immediately erases anything you may have found believable. I was so bored watching this that I started to wish I were at work instead. That’s insane.

4. Paranormal Activity 4 (October 19; Paramount Pictures)

I’m a Paranormal Activity sympathizer, meaning it takes a lot to disappoint me. PA 4 is the first in the franchise to do a face plant, tripping on the curb and losing all of its teeth. There’s zero bite, as none of the scares are elevated (unless you take this as a pun), and the mythology seemingly goes backwards. It’s as if I were watching a PA fan film, which is crazy considering how good directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman did on PA 3.

3. House at the End of the Street (September 21; Universal Pictures)

To call House at the End of the Street original it would have had to have been released in 1959, one year before Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho hit theaters. This means that the ideas presented are roughly 50 years too late, leaving audiences in a near coma only to be revived by the various shots of Jennifer Lawrence’s T&A. While its not bad-bad, it’s just so poorly conceived that it should have premiered on Lifetime.

2. Berberian Sound Studio (TBD; IFC Films)

I hated this movie with every fiber if my being. It’s pretentious filmmaking that’s loaded with arrogance. While the movie looks stunning, there’s absolutely no substance. It takes forever to get to the point, and when we get to the point, there’s literally nothing there. If anything, I wanted to see what was on the screen, not in the studio.

1. Smiley (October 12; Fever Production)

A jumbled mess of ideas, a plot riddled with holes, and an ending that will leave you frowning, Smiley is an abomination. Made solely to sell to a massive fan base, Smiley proves that no matter how popular you are, people still want to see GOOD movies. Every single facet of Smiley is bad, and the obvious result of poor decision making (from the setting to the cast, plot and gore level). It’s a horror movie made by people who obviously aren’t huge fans of the genre.

Dishonorable Mentions:

Everything bad about Found Footage can be seen in 388 Arletta Avenue, a movie produced by Splice and Cube director Vincenzo. The execution delivers an unbearably bland and generic thriller that’s also visually uninteresting. ParaNorman is a farce that so many people fell for. It’s a horror made for horror fans by people who apparently haven’t seen in a single horror movie in their lives. It’s bland and generic, with a horrible twist. Seemingly nothing is at stake, except for maybe your free time. If anything, the movie looks good, but who cares if there’s no substance to the art? (Commence Bloody Disgusting reader rage!) As for Lionsgate’s The Possession, first and foremost, there’s no such thing as the Devil or demons in the Jewish religion, which make the entire plot a farce. I’m also incredibly aware of the actual dibbuk box story, and followed it almost live on blogs and on eBay. The true stories are 100x more terrifying than anything on screen. I’ve said this about a million times before but loud isn’t scary, and the fact that the family live in an empty house makes everything feel fantastical. It’s not the worst movie ever, but it’s pretty weak sauce.



  • Slasher_Lover23

    I actually liked Paranormal Activity 4 because it didn’t take itself seriously like others. To me it’s as if it knew the scares were tired so they just decided to have fun with them. House at the End of the Street was decent even if it was familiar, Jennifer Lawrence and Max Theroit provided excellent performances. The Bay actually disturbed me more than Contagion. As for The Apparition, I would call it more disappointing, it had so much potential it had a good storyline going, but not enough detail and horrible character development.

    • pyrepunk

      I agree with you on Paranormal Activity 4, if it had attempted to be like the first 3 these would feel as if they were turning into the saw films, but they made it a little fun so it felt different. I guess that just doesn’t work for some people, me and my friend loved seeing it at the midnight release though, it was fun and goofy in a way which made it another good (Not great or the best in the series) PA film.

  • Zombie-Killa

    Wow. Smiley must’ve been pretty bad, because I can’t imagine anything being worse than The Devil Inside. A total shit-fest from beginning to end, and I still believe The Devil Inside features one of the worst endings EVER from any film genre. #10 is too generous Mr. D. lol.

    House At The End Of The Street wasn’t something to remember, but IMO, it was just another boring run of the mill mainstream horror movie with a generic story.

    Still haven’t seen PA 4, just waiting on the DVD now. And from what I read on this site and other places, I’m glad I didn’t pay money to see it in theaters this time around.

  • Aaron Emery

    I agree with about half of this list, haven’t seen a few of these yet. THE. BAY is near the top of my list for the best of 2012! I thought it was subtly terrifying and had perfect music to boot. THE DEVIL INSIDE, while by no means a great movie, is IMO highly underrated. If it didn’t have the web link at the end it would have had the same-type third act as most found footage flicks, it also had more gore and violence than most found footage flicks! I didn’t care for PA4 but it was better than part 2 and wasn’t a complete disaster. I’m also REALLY looking forward to LORDS OF SALEM! I’ve read great things elsewhere and think it looks like the different route Zombie has been needing to go.

    • divisionbell

      Devil inside was terribly underrated. Loved that movie. The lack of a 3rd act is needlessly attack. It was such a fitting, honest ending to the scenario they set up.

      • Zombie-Killa

        …..Eh, well I guess I can understand where you’re coming from, but it just feels like a giant middle finger, followed by a “ha ha! we got you!,” when you basically tell a PAYING audience to finish the movie on the internet.

  • djblack1313

    i very much liked THE BAY, so much so i’ve watched it twice. HOUSE AT THE END…was ok. nothing great. kinda routine but watchable. i’ll take any of these “bad” movies over your DETENTION movie any day of the week (how you can like that movie is the real mystery. you mention how AFTERSHOCK is all over the place and yet DETENTION is like it just shot up some meth with heroine with a side order of GHB! lol. talk about all over the place ADD times a million!!!! lol).

    • Aaron Emery

      Aha ha I kinda liked DETENTION but you’re spot on, it feels like a speedball to the head!

  • VictorCrowley

    Completely agree with Devil Inside. Lot’s of build up. Zero delivery.

    As far as RZ goes — he might as well try romance, or comedy, or cooking shows. His horror days are long since done.

  • Samhain2010

    I have no idea how a single person could honestly believe “The Bay” was a good movie!!!??? I am very, very forgiving of movies like this, but this was possibly the worst found footage movie I have ever seen. I seriously question the movie IQ of anyone that thinks it was anything other than a catastrophe.

    • djblack1313

      most of us liked THE BAY. no need to get nasty. deal with it.

      • Aaron Emery

        THE BAY was fantastic, don’t be rude !!

    • divisionbell

      I agree. The bay was dull. They set up a premise with an isopod that takes per a host (in a creepy fashion) and the. Didn’t do anything with it. The ending was so limp it was painful.

    • Scream1210

      The Bay was an amazing movie! Deal with it asshole

  • Primeus

    I hated PA4 and I think it’s John Carpenter’s Halloween compared to Cabin In The Woods.

    I dunno I don’t see how PA4 makes the worse list and Cabin In The Woods makes the best list. That movie was dogshit.

    • feck

      agreed. Do not AT ALL get what all the love is for Cabin in the Woods. It was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.

  • flesheater24

    ATM does that count ??? that movie fuckin sucked dick. Got 30 mins into it. Talk about a POS cliche movie that one is surly it. But glad PA4 is on there that movie is the dumbest shit ever mADE

  • xedgeinx

    i’ve heard nothing but good things about berberian sound studio.. and if mr. disgusting hated it then i take that as a sign that it’s probably intelligent filmmaking. he probably just didn’t get it.

    • Evan3

      Actually, they have all admitted it is well made, but a terrible film regarding plot and acting. I’m also interested where you heard that it was good, I have seen nothing but bad reviews!

  • Evan3

    That is too bad to hear about Eli Roth’s film, I don’t think he will ever reach the heights of Cabin Fever again.

    Also Devil Inside merits number 1 because it was actually a major release that tons of people saw, thus hammering the horror genre worse than any of the others on this list.

    @MrDisgusting – sorry, you are wrong about the evil spirits thing. I am Jewish and a religion major. There is a witch in the Old Testament, book of judges. Also, there is a tradition where Jews used to chase goats into the desert to be devoured by a demon (usually thought to be the demon Azazel – The dibbuk is certainly a culturally Jewish legend. Granted, judaism isn’t nearly as steeped in demonology as Christianity, but it still exists. Nonetheless, The Possession was still awful and deserves to be listed here.

  • ThunderDragoon

    The Apparition should be number 1 or at least higher on the list. That was the worst piece of shit I’ve ever seen in theaters.

  • I think if you’re trying to see ParaNorman as a horror film, you’re missing the entire point of the film. It was a fantastic animated / family film and did a whole mess of things right. I started smiling as soon as the credits rolled and kept smiling as I walked out of the theatre.

    • djblack1313

      Gavin, i was wondering about PARANORMAN. literally every person i know who’s seen that movie loved it a lot.

      • Aaron Emery

        PARANORMAN was great, I saw it in the theater and bout the Blu. Very good movie!

  • BangBangSkeetSkeet

    “PA4” sucked so much ass, it was horrible! Sadly, I also agree with you about “Paranorman”.

  • Trinity

    Smiley deserved place 1.It was awful and not even creepy or bloody.Not worth to watch

  • Brackett

    Worst horror movies of 2012:

  • AndrewSoukup24

    Haven’t seen one movie on this list but I will haha…and not just cause they are listed as bad but cause I wnated to see them already..the only movie I have completely no interest in is Berberian Sound Studio..the preview just looked lame…It is upsetting to know Smiley was this bad I was looking forward to that and almost wen to see the limited release in a theatre by my house…gladly I passed.

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