Alright, confession time – I never really WANT to write a “Worst Of” horror list because I try to find value in every horror movie, and it’s always easy to pick on the weak. Making silly analogies, calling filmmakers out, trashing tacky performances, crapping all over nonsensical plots and even worse execution – it’s simple child’s play really. Writing about flawless films and what intricacies make them so stunningly breathtaking is where a challenge truly exists, trying to sway the masses into gobbling up your words of wisdom – which I’ve already done for you in my Top 10 Horror Films Of 2012 list.
But, with that said, some films are so astoundingly underwhelming, so obviously terrible, so egotistically cocky, so downright atrocious, and so painfully time-wasting – I have no choice but to take action. I have nothing against the people involved or those trying to make endearing cinema, but a bad film is a bad film, end of story.
As a critic (devout fan, horror obsessed lunatic, take your pick), it’s my job to steer you away from such pocks that cover our otherwise beautiful genre whether I like it or not, and in the end, I’m also the perfect candidate. I watch a lot of horror films, for better or for worse, so trust me when I say I’ve found the worst of the worst to alert you readers of, and I almost lost my mind doing it. 2012 was actually a rather quiet year for horror, throwing out some highly publicized scare tactics only to watch them fall by the wayside one by one, vanishing from relevance almost as quickly as they entered theaters – like a cut-rate children’s magician clumsily hacking his way through a “now you see it, now you don’t” trick.
So, alright, you’re here for a reason, so I might was well make with the list, right? So be it. Follow me as I begrudgingly re-live the 13 worst horror movies of 2012, forced to relive such mind-numbing stretches of gobbledygook powerful enough to render my senses helpless, paralyzed, bored, and not to mention furious after I’d just wasted $12.50 of my hard earned cash. Originally this was going to be a 10 Worst Horror Movies Of 2012 list, but while sorting out all my reviews for the year, I realized 10 spots wouldn’t be enough, having some films that weren’t even good enough for a “dishonorable mention,” so I extended the list to 13. Not a big difference, I know, but trust me, every spot counts with this year’s crop.
Here’s pretty much how I felt during all these movies, except instead of reacting to the background score, pretend Alex is just reacting to the film…Next
Director: Michael J. Gallagher
What do you get when a bunch of young YouTube sensations transition their ideas to the big screen and try to make a horror movie based on a new Internet urban legend, basically like the “Bloody Mary” of Chatroulette? Well, you get a horror film that shows no understanding of what makes a horror movie scary, annoying characters much better suited for short YouTube videos, and writing that only keeps the LOL-ing cyber generation of today in mind.
Smiley has an interesting concept and at least dares to try something new, but also contains aggravating acting, infuriatingly cheap jump scares, and an ending all too clichéd to take anyone by surprise. Director Michael Gallagher could benefit mightily from studying classic horror films if he wants to stay around the genre, because with a better understanding, his filmmaking could be a decent way to draw newer and younger fans into the horror genre – given his craftsmanship is significantly improved upon.
12. The Tall Man
Director: Pascal Laugier
I know some people loved The Tall Man, and I understand their point of view, but I can’t say I share the same opinion. Coming from the man who directed the relentless French horror film Martyrs, I saw The Tall Man as a tremendous step backwards in storytelling and creativity, and was let down in a big way by predictable pacing and an overall lack of gripping cinema lost somewhere in between an overarching message I believe could have been handled much better.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining because Pascal didn’t amp the gore up this time around. I hate to pigeonhole directors, tying them to one film and complaining every time the same standards aren’t met, so I didn’t care that The Tall Man became more of a psychological and suspenseful thriller. I cared more that I cracked Laugier’s story far too early on and was forced to sit though one of Jessica Beil’s weaker performances for far too long, missing the emotional reaction Pascal set out to draw from audiences.
Director: Bradley Parker
I’m actually rather bummed out Chernobyl Diaries was such a dud because I like the concept of “found footage” horror films and this Oren Peli produced vessel brought us somewhere iconic instead of just some woods or an abandoned building. I thought decent fun could have been had navigating Ukrainian horrors on such devastated lands, but alas, in the Ukraine, there’s nothing to fear but stupid characters and terrible acting – and roaming bears?
Instead of bringing ingenuity and life into the “found footage” genre, Bradley Parker was only able to muster another example of what makes the sub-genre so easily exploited by directors who just chop together the same tired and unoriginal formula. Shaky camera work, jump scares, forced plot points to give the camera man a perfect shot – it’s all here. Add downright hateable characters and significantly flawed logic so bad every character should have been forced to wear a “Dunce” hat for the film’s entirety, and you’ve got the next big film which makes “found footage” horror one step closer to extinction.Previous Next
10. The Wicker Tree
Director: Robin Hardy
Robin Hardy’s original The Wicker Man has stood the test of time, being a largely adored cult classic praised by horror fans and critics alike as one of the greatest films to come out of 1973. It’s been a long time since then, and even though sequels had been written and teased for years, it wasn’t until 2012 that Robin Hardy directed a “spiritual sequel” to his original film titled The Wicker Tree – based off of his own novel Cowboys For Christ. While The Wicker Man is historically a true classic by now, The Wicker Tree is anything but.
What Hardy has done this time around is introduce two traveling Christians trying to “save some lost souls” in Scotland by spreading their good word, but are sucked into the dark Pagan religion made popular by The Wicker Man. From here, we get more cult worshiping psychos and more crazy religious jargon, but with abysmal quality. I feel like Hardy simply re-hashed the same story with different characters to achieve the same recognition as The Wicker Man, but with horridly dull acting and a much weaker story, The Wicker Tree falls drastically shorter than it’s world-renown predecessor. At least Neil LaBute’s tragic remake of The Wicker Man had Nic Cage hilarity, spawning a slew of YouTube clips that are comedy gold. The Wicker Tree is simply a dreadful watch, and I can only hope Hardy’s upcoming Wicker trilogy-ender has a much fresher vision.
Director: Vincent D’Onofrio
Music and horror, why shouldn’t they go hand in hand? D’Onofrio thought up a pretty stellar concept, sending a bunch of hopeful rockstars into the woods for an inspirational outing, but Don’t Go In The Woods finishes as a pretty cut and dry teenage slasher flick with some songs to split up the killings. Sadly though, neither aspect is dealt with rather well, making for an entirely underwhelming musical horror experience.
In terms of the soundtrack, our band is used to sing about the plot points happening at the time, in a sort of self aware sing along that treats its viewers like toddlers. Another sore point in viewing came from D’Onofrio not known when to insert music and when not to, watching characters being dragged away by a killer while they sing about it. How am I supposed to be terrified of a killer when his victims are too preoccupied to escape because they still have another verse left in their big number? No horror, no fear, poor scripting, flawed characters, and even worse songs? Seriously, Don’t Go In The Woods. Trust me.
Director: Mark Tonderai
While Jennifer Lawrence had an outstanding 2012 with films like The Hunger Games and Silver Linings Playbook, I’m sure she’d love to forget her participation in Mark Tonderai’s critically panned stinker House At The End Of The Street - a bargain bin thriller which didn’t impress in the least.
I don’t blame any of the fault on Lawrence herself, so at least the actress can say it wasn’t her doing, but in a movie so heavily dependent on characters to create horror and tension, not much was done to really make us care about a young girl in trouble or the mysterious boy she so fondly ogles. The chemistry between Max Thieriot and Jennifer Lawrence isn’t one that really warrants us to care about the end, or how Thieriot is able to carry out his more sinister actions without anyone knowing.
You’ll find nothing but a lot of big events with too little explanation if you give Tonderai’s film a gander, making House At The End Of The Street a reward-less and boring watch.Previous Next
7. Spiders 3D
Director: Tibor Takács
If Spiders 3D sounds like a ridiculous creature feature that belongs on the SyFy channel sandwiched between Ice Spiders and Camel Spiders, you’re right, as veteran B-Movie director Tibor Takács sets loose numerous arachnid terrors to rampage through New York City. While these kinds of movies can be a ton of fun to watch, displaying what silly carnival-like enjoyment can be had within the horror genre, Spiders 3D doesn’t quite reach “so bad it’s good” levels of grindhouse glory.
Here’s the thing – I hate spiders. Those creepy-crawly fuzzy little eight legged freaks really send a chill down my spine, so I was hesitant to see how Spiders 3D would work for me. Well, considering CGI work never really gives us a foe worth fearing, and how I easily sat through Takács’ film without even flinching, the visual mark was drastically missed. But, considering I didn’t find any humor in his film either, there’s no excuse for shoddy delivery typically found in films that are able to entertain in other ways. Nope, just a lot of shiny “spiders” and made for TV acting.
Director: Michael J. Bassett
While Silent Hill is easily one of better video game adaptations I’ve ever seen, Silent Hill: Revelation is easily one of the worst.
The problem here wasn’t acting by any means, as Adelaide Clemens and Kit Harington did the best they could, but awful pacing and laughably inept scripting doomed whatever visual treats Bassett attempted to show. In no way was Silent Hill: Revelation meant to be comical, yet I found myself laughing out loud in the theater at miserable dialogue not even found in the worst video game cut-scenes, along with anti-climactic storytelling which completely missed any point of enjoyable horror.
My final straw came at the realization I could only rationalize the on-screen events with the word “because,” and that isn’t something I find too appealing. Gamers were treated as if they knew every bit of backstory from Silent Hill 3, and non-gaming horror fans were left in the dark – angry and annoyed.
Pissing off non-gamers is one thing, but to not even play towards the audience members who shat their pants playing Silent Hill 3? *Facepalm*Previous Next
Director: William Brent Bell
“Oh look, what a surprise, another ‘found footage’ horror film in my bottom 13,” he said sarcastically.
Holy moly, where do I begin with the worthless piece of horror drivel known as The Devil Inside, yet another “found footage” catastrophe simply trying to mirror Paranormal Activity‘s overnight success. You’ve got your snore-inducing pace, zero attention to horror, characters you simply want to punch in the face, writing not worth a damn climatically, deceptive/nonsensical story progression, and unquestionably THE WORST ending I’ve seen grace the horror genre in years. The film ends out of nowhere with an incredibly abrupt and stupidly out of place finale, really cheating us out of important story points Bell simply never cares to address with what feels like blatantly lazy filmmaking.
The Devil Inside is about exorcisms and religious horror, yet so much time is spent on the boring talky-talky mumbo jumbo instead of the actual holy crusading. It’s a damn shame because there were a few moments of body-contorting horror that had me hooked, but I can assure you it was only for a brief second, gone in a haze of dimly lit rooms and annoying Real World like confessionals from our characters.
The Devil Inside couldn’t have started 2012 off on a worse foot, and would have been an easy number one pick if it wasn’t such big year for terrible horror films.
Director: Padraig Reynolds
Some people think it’s easy to make a slasher movie, discrediting such genre films for only needing a killer, some pretty wanna-be actors/actresses, and a creepy location. Well if it was that simple, why are there so many awful slasher movies in existence? Just look at Rites Of Spring, an incredibly painful Southern-fried slasher that tries to introduce a new horror villain named Wormface, but forgets to actually establish any sort of backstory along the way.
Reynolds’ initial attempt is to play off of ritualistic beliefs that a sacrifice is needed every spring for a fruitful harvest, and Wormface is the one who does the killing. Enter a creepy old farmer and two poor girls hand selected for his sadistic ritual, establishing the horror. At the same time, another kidnapping taking place in a nearby abandoned building throws more kill fodder into the mix when the two sets of characters cross paths, mixing both stories. The problem is simple though – neither story is properly thought out or executed with any enjoyable logic or horror fun in the least bit. Gore and nudity couldn’t even camp up Rites Of Spring for a cultish saving grace, making the final product only usable for crop fertilization.
When you mix shit with more shit, all you have is an even bigger pile of shit. Sorry for the simple analogy, but how else can I say it?Previous Next
Director: Dominic Burns
The simple reality that Airborne somehow isn’t wrapping this list up at the number one spot makes me want to grab a barf bag in disgust, as this would easily be in contention for overall “Worst of” glory any other year – but this year, Dominic Burns’ horror travesty was saved by even more inept filmmaking, despite the fact his film took a nosedive harder than a plane without engines carrying 1,000 elephants.
Mark “Luke Skywalker” Hamill was dangled by marketing teams to promote Airborne, hoping people could find happiness in a familiar face, but not even Jedi mind tricks are powerful enough to convince even the simplest mind there exists even an iota of entertaining cinema flying around Burns’ film. What starts as a weak premise turns into a completely mishandled claustrophobic “possession” type “horror” film with zero intensity or tension, never clever nor thrilling enough to raise even the slightest hair on a viewer’s body. I’ve honestly never seen such mediocre work fumbled so mightily, making Airborne not even worth a forced in-flight movie viewing you don’t even have to pay for. Leave the headphones unplugged and deal with the screaming babies, you’ll thank me on that one.
Director: Todd Lincoln
The Apparition – horror movie, or terrible PSA about making contact with the dead? Surely it couldn’t be the first choice, because there wasn’t a single drop of horror to even be found!
Sexy stars Sebastian Stan and Ashley Greene are forced to challenge the existence of an evil force who takes pleasure in Paranormal Activity type activities that upset our couple, and Tom Felton shows up to complicate things and piss off some ghosts along the way – without stringable logic or tactful handling of course. The Apparition features one of the weakest malevolent beings I’ve ever witnessed, having no set rules or regulations for his actions. One minute he can only be seen with a heat detecting device, the other he’s manifesting himself as a contortionist.
Oh yeah, and Sebastian Stan’s character is easily one of the most perplexing horror movie boyfriends in history, doing things even Micha from Paranormal Activity would consider moronic. That, my friends, is the lowest of insults.Previous Next
1. Area 407
Directors: Dale Fabrigar/Everette Wallin
If you read my article on 2012′s Worst Horror Films So Far, you would understand there was no way Area 407 was losing its much deserved number one spot, even with films like The Devil Inside, The Apparition, and Airborne release this year. Nope, Area 407 held strong and left such a negative impression, I’m still having trouble shrugging off the whole tragic ordeal.
If you didn’t read my article though, understand these few details and you’ll know why this “found footage” train-wreck easy ousted all other competitors on my list.
Our two directors gathered up some actors with a lazy idea and no script, shot the film in five days, had actors ad-lib all their lines, and brutally bashed their film into a bloody, pulpy mess of tired, clichéd, and stereotypical “found footage” antics – and only the bad ones. No action happens on screen, the scale of our “monster” is never kept proportional throughout the movie, our characters are inconceivably unwatchable – I really can’t rant enough about this movie. Based on the lifeless ad-libbed dialogue alone there’s so much to hate, as our actors stumble helplessly through mood-killing lines, trying to yell over one another for screen time. Improvisation is one thing, but going into a film blind?
Area 407 not only deserves this slot, but also makes a phenomenal case to be the worst horror movie I’ve ever seen in my life. Hands down. No questions asked. AVOID AT ALL COSTS!
Least Favorite Poster Work Of 2012
A theatrical poster can say a lot about a film, standing as a visual aid that represents a snapshot of everything awesome you want to say about your creation. While these were once hand drawn and mocked up by actual artists, we’re now in a graphic arts age where Photoshop and other computer tools are used to crank out some pretty killer masterpieces. Then again, some posters come out like a cheap cut and past waste of garbage, showing the film in a very negative light. Bad posters can drive people away from a film for numerous reasons like poor execution, failure to reach all demographics, blandness, misrepresentation, or cheap duplication – but any way you cut it, it spells disaster. Here’s some of my least favorite poster art from 2012′s horror pool, and be sure to take note how many of these films ended up in my bottom 13. Coincidence? You decide.
Least Favorite Trailer Of 2012
Least favorite movie, least favorite trailer – seems logical, no? Well, on the surface yes, but I hate this trailer even more now after seeing the film. Why? Because it essentially is the movie. Every bit of “action” and every creature reveal is spoiled by this trailer, as Area 407 offers nothing more but off screen noises and garbage dialogue to fill in the massive blanks, and even they fall miserably short when not mashed together in a frantically cut trailer.
So horror fans, how did I do with my Worst Horror Movies Of 2012? Which films do you think I unfairly trashed on my list and which films do you think I left off? Opinions are opinions, and I’d love to hear yours as well! Feel free to let me know your least favorite horror films of the year in the Comments section!
*Please note some reviews have been linked to my old blog, as I hadn’t started writing for We Got This Covered when the films were released.Previous