Writing for a genre site is funny sometimes. Since we keep things more or less related to horror around here, we wind up examining almost every movie that comes out that could be potentially associated with that genre. This means that I end up watching a lot of movies that are so bad many people are just flat-out unaware of their existence. So when I look around to sites that cover every genre – and therefore have a more mainstream cross-section from which to pull their “best” and “worst” lists – I’m always surprised at what stuff is worthy of the “worst” designation. I think to myself, “this guy named ‘Snow White And The Huntsman’ one of the year’s worst movies. That’s as bad as it got for him.” While I’m sure that film is terrible, I’d bet a major organ that it’s far better than Snow White: A Deadly Summer.
Speaking of, 2012 was a year filled to the brim with lazy, cynical horror movies made by people with no love for the genre – people who see horror as a cheap way to make a buck off a dedicated fanbase. This is a list of those movies (and a few that had their hearts in the right place but got mangled along the way) in no particular order.
Greystone Park (October 16th; XLrator Media)
Sean Stone managed to craft the most boring horror film of the year with this unbelievably out of touch yarn about people ghost hunting in an abandoned asylum. It’s as if he and the film’s screenwriter ______ came up with this story around the time The Blair Witch Project was released and didn’t bother to develop the idea at all in between then and shooting it. It’s the cinematic equivalent of trying to trade someone a Disc Man for their iPad. To make matters worse, Greytsone Park is unbelievably self satisfied for something so lazy.
Gone (February 24; Summit)
Some near-meltdown moments from my 0/10 review: “ Watching ‘Gone’ is like watching the world’s dumbest person play the world’s worst RPG side mission…’Gone’ is perhaps the worst film I have seen theatrically. At least in the past 10 years. I’m literally trying to find a precedent for a film I’ve enjoyed less and I can’t find one… [It] has talent and resources at its disposal – it just chooses to be lazy. It chooses to be boring and bad. With so much in its corner you would think it could provide at least one single entertaining moment, but it willfully declines. And that is unforgivable. It chooses to take your money without the effort or intent of living up to its end of the bargain.”
The Devil Inside (January 6; Paramount Insurge)
I was far too kind in my initial 5/10 review. The first two acts of this film are a standard and trite misuse of the found-footage conceit with laughable lines about the rigors of “Exorcism school.” But what about the third act? Actually, the film doesn’t have one. Just as things finally get going they cut to a title card bearing a URL. How insulting is that? Movies cost a lot of money these days, The Devil Inside takes it out of your pocket and spits in your face.
Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines (October 23; Fox Home Entertainment)
Some near-meltdown moments from my 1/10 review (I only gave it the “1” so folks would actually notice that it had been reviewed when they looked at the skull ranking): “It’s ugly, mean-spirited, stupid and seems to truly hate women… it managed to be the one of the most truly unpleasant viewing experiences of my life… I think part of the key here is the utter disdain the film has for its audience. This movie doesn’t care if you like it or not. It’s not meant to be enjoyed, it’s meant to be bought… Even worse, the film ends on the implication that Roxanne McKee’s character is going to be raped repeatedly by Maynard and the cannibals. This is designed to be a punchy ending… [except] four people raping a girl whose eyes have been gouged out is never funny!”
The Apparition (August 24; Warner Bros.)
I’ll commend The Apparition for its ambition. It really does want to be something new and different, but it never figures out quite how to pull it off. Its aggressively suburban setting confuses banality for relatability and jump scares for actual, you know, scares.
Paranormal Activity 4 (October 19; Paramount)
What a disappointment. After PA3 took the series to a place that was actually engaging and fun I was sure that returning directors Ariel Joost and Henry Shuman could at least match, if not top, themselves in this effort. I was wrong. Paranormal Activity 4 is so bad I literally couldn’t believe my eyes as it was happening. Why, after three films in the franchise and countless others outside it, do they feel the need to try to reintroduce us to the very conceit of found footage? And that’s just the opening five minutes! By the film’s end we’re supposed to be scared by the sight of Katie Featherston running around breaking people’s necks. There is not one single, solitary second of this film that in any way lives up to its predecessor.
Snow White: A Deadly Summer (March 20; Lionsgate)
Some near-meltdown moments from my 1/10 review: “ It’s the kind of movie where there’s not one single human moment onscreen. Where twists that should be revelatory are rendered inert by the anti-story. Where a major character’s death is explained via flat, emotion-less exposition by the only character in the film that would actually have any emotion regarding it. Where lazy writing, shooting and editorial decisions expect to be tolerated and rewarded… Disappointing fans of quality and competency alike, there is literally not one person I could recommend this to with a straight face. “