The Five Worst Horror Films Of 2012 So Far

a407 03c1 The Five Worst Horror Films Of 2012 So Far

Upon reaching 2012′s cinematic midway point, I’ve found some grade-A entries into the horror genre haunting enough to make me clutch a blanket over my eyes, but man did I have to sift through some garbage to do so.

For every Cabin In The Woods, we got ten complete abominations incomparable to even the most mediocre productions, but I guess that’s what makes discovering phenomenal horror feel oh so good.

It’s a dirty job watching some of the films listed below, but I do it for you!  Diving head first into the bloody mess of genre specific stinkers witnessed this year, I surface out of the muck to bring you my Top Five Worst Horror Films of 2012…so far.

Without further adieu, let’s take a second to honor those crap-tacular films, which still pollute screens.

5. Monster Brawl

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It’s such a shame that I have to include what should have been a horror nerd’s wet dream on my bottom five list.

Monster Brawl is exactly what it sounds like: a WWF Pay Per View rip-off featuring all your favorite horror creatures fighting to the death in tournament-style action.  Authenticity is strived for in this mock event by including everything from monster divisions, weight classes, color commentators, ring girls, to special guest cameos. It’s just too bad that the script, seemingly written by current WWE scribes, makes Monster Brawl feel unbalanced and unjustly dull.

First off, don’t get excited thinking you’re about to see a featherweight match between Chucky and Leprechaun, or a star-studded smack down between Robert DeNiro‘s Frankenstein and Tom Cruise‘s Vampire.  Monster Brawl includes all the classic monsters, just slightly ripped off as to avoid paying royalties. We get characters like “Swamp Gut” (who is just an overweight version of Swamp Thing) and “Werewolf” (who is just a random bro turned by the curse), though that didn’t bother me so much.

What did chap my ass were the poorly inserted origin stories, shoehorned in before each creature entered the arena. Apparently, this was some sort of attempt to establish an emotionally resonant backstory for each warrior, though they all were quickly forgotten as soon as the fights began. Without a true overarching story, each introduction was nothing but wasted screen time.

Each fight also played out in a hokey and fake manner. Watching what appeared to be two stunt actors wearing silly costumes perform power bombs and pile drivers over and over got boring quick. Sans one or two high-five worthy horror fatalities, so much more could have been done to bolster the gore and to create monster-specific fighting techniques.

I’m sure some will love the fact that they can watch Frankenstein choke-slam a werewolf, but Monster Brawl exists better as a concept than low-budget independent horror film. Even surprise appearances by professional wrestling/MMA celebrities Kevin Nash, Herb Dean, and “Mouth from the South” Jimmy Hart couldn’t elevate director Jesse T. Cook‘s first solo effort to B-Movie greatness.

I will say that Monster Brawl got selected for this list based on sheer disappointment, but it does have a few redeeming qualities.  One can only hope something worse comes along and prevents Jesse T. Cook from being on my end-of-the-year naughty list!

4. ATM

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Let’s get this out of the way now: yes, that dude on the right used to be resident Nickelodeon-chubby-kid Josh from Drake and Josh.  Laugh laugh, har har, he pulled a Jonah Hill - we good now?

Single location horror films are always a gamble, both from a production standpoint and from the viewer’s perspective. There are always challenges created by having zero variety in setting. That being said, I’m a sucker for Alice Eve and normally have faith in IFC Midnight releases, so I tried to cash in on a late night watch. Damn you sexy Alice Eve, duping me into another horror misfire!

ATM succeeds in making all the mistakes a single-location horror film could.

Non-existent character development causing me to root for the trio’s sweet release coupled with an abrupt ending are not things you want to include in a film that really only has those three characters to focus on.

Sorry Josh Peck, not one ounce of my fiber wanted to see you walk out of that tiny booth after turning into a sniveling brat (at least your buddies provided somewhat credible performances). Acting and character development? A big fat strike one.

Storywise, Buried scribe Chris Sparling falls prey to every horror cliché imaginable, be it body count, the execution of kills or the existence of basic logic. Nothing against Canadians, but honestly, if at 2:00 AM if you see a shadowy hooded figure walking briskly towards you, why aren’t you instantly sprinting another direction?  Oh, and I’m sure the bumbling security guard is here to save the day! Oh no, wait – yup – dead.  

ATM was missing any semblance of creativity, as if Sparling wrote in supporting characters just to appease horror audiences with uninspired and forced deaths. Strike two!

Three strikes and you’re out, right?

David Brook‘s snooze-fest of a claustrophobic horror fails one last time by incorporating a killer with no back story, motivation, or charisma.  In the realm of named horror icons, all I’ve got for this guy is “Hoodie” (ooh, ahh?) Terrifying murderers always tend to have a sick agenda or tortured upbringing, but we’re supposed to believe Mr. Creepy just plays the game for giggles in an all too “we’ve seen this before” manner.

Keep on moving people, this ATM is fresh out of cash.

3. 388 Arletta Avenue

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Now, while the cast of ATM may have been unlikable, the lead character James (Nick Stahl), from 388 Arletta Avenue, easily wins the award for Most Hateable Horror Character of the Year. Again, I couldn’t bring myself to even muster the slightest shred of compassion as James frantically burned bridges and acted suspiciously abrasive when outsiders tried to offer help. Ultimately, this set him up for inevitable failure early on as he hunts for his kidnapped wife.

Apparently, ATM‘s killer also moonlights stalking suburban families on the side, as 388 Arletta Avenue provides an exact replica of “Hoodie,” down to the oversized hood and inevitable cut scene showing each villain lurking in their hideout planning yet another hellish ride for out protagonists. Two films, same mistake, same bottom five fate.

Let’s not forget 388 Arletta Avenue‘s found footage nature, capturing shots from cameras positioned by Hoodie #2, which provides 24/7 coverage of James’ constant struggle.  Now, I can understand being oblivious in the right scenario, but we’re not talking about a shifted coffee table here. Numerous digital cameras were placed around James’ house yet he meanders about apparently unaware of the obvious alterations.  Wouldn’t you question why a random camcorder is sitting on your bedroom bookcase in the perfect position to watch you sleep?

Maybe if I could actually relate to James and want him to crack his crazy stalker conundrum there would have been some redeeming qualities to 388 Arletta Avenue - if.

Hate a main character, hate the movie.  It’s that simple.

2. The Moth Diaries

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How do you make a vampire story without even including an actual vampire? Just ask director Mary Harron.

The Moth Diaries is nothing but a cushy, safe, horror romp for tweens, as this estrogen-filled, best-friends-forever, coma-inducer includes only about two scenes that actually even belong in the horror genre.  Besides all the excruciating waiting for those brief moments of actual horror, we’re treated to nothing but an overly stereotypical sleepover full of snobby school girls who gossip and bitch. Actually, I take that back, that sounds horrifying.

Taking place in an all girls boarding school, rumors arise that one pasty new outsider could possibly be a vampire, hell-bent on stealing one girl’s soul. That, or main character Rebecca (Sarah Bolger) is stark raving mad and fabricates every detail for her own (in)sanity. Pick whichever explanation you’d like, it’s not like The Moth Diaries does simple things like wrap up plot points and provide closure – its dreadfully awful writing leaves us completely in the dark.

Sure, Inception could pull off such tomfoolery because exemplary filmmaking was constructed by Christopher NolanThe Moth Diaries (to put it politely) does not.

Maybe I’m just the wrong demographic, as I possess no female anatomy and enjoy coherent storytelling. The Moth Diaries exists as nothing but another cheap attempt to cash in on screaming “Twi-hards”, hungry for the next big vampire offering.

Want to see what real vampires do? Go watch Stake Land. Then tell me you want to marry Edward Cullen.

1. Area 407

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Let me start by saying I have never hated a movie in all my existence. I may not have liked movies, may have been bored, may have dismissed them, but I have never, ever, outright wrote off a film to have zero cinematic qualities worth noting. That was, until I watched Area 407.

Directors Dale Fabrigar and Everette Wallin attempted to create an independent creature feature on a shoe-string budget in five days, with actors ad-libbing their lines. Suffice to say, Area 407 ended up as a Frankenstein of a failed project.

In Area 407, survivors from a plane crash face a monster that hunts the group and kills them slowly (oh how I wish the plane killed them all and the movie could have ended early).

Area 407 consists of cardboard characters screaming “what is that?!” as they vanish off-screen one by one while atrocious direction offers nothing but shaky-cam antics, exploitative found footage scenarios and soul-sucking pacing. They didn’t even attempt to provide a spec of excitement until thirty-five minutes had passed, and even after that, agonizingly-awful creature design couldn’t even keep our monster consistently scaled from scene to scene.

Improvisational tactics are supposed to bring genuine realism to film and make characters seem grounded, yet all Area 407 managed to record were actors over-using simplistic dialogue and shouting over one another as if vying for the most screen time. As a result, they all seemed unintelligent and rather annoying. Even for an independent horror film, I’ve never seen such piss-poor acting stink up the screen this badly.

Plain and simple, you can’t call a character disappearing off-screen horror – seriously. My favorite scene depicted character Charlie walking away from the group near dense foliage to relieve himself. The camera pans back towards the others, and when the focus returns to Charlie, he’s gone. My horror intellect has never been more insulted in my life.

Area 407 doesn’t stop at being the worst horror movie of the year so far, I’m awarding this genre embarrassment the label of worst horror film I’ve seen all decade (and every other encompassing award that goes with it).

It may be a tad premature to deem  Area 407 one of the worst horror film I’ve ever seen, but congrats goes out to our two directors for being the front-runner right now.

Now it’s your turn to chime in. Head down to the comments and let us know which horror films you hated this year.

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  • Glyph

    In reference to your number 1, you say you’ve never hated a movie. Ever watch D-Wars?

    • Matt Donato

      haha good old Dragon Wars. Yes, that is a piece of garbage, but at least there was some iota of creativity to be spoken for in the most general sense. But Area 407 failed in every single aspect to an amount I never thought imaginable. I’d never seen that happen in a film before. Area 407 makes a film like D-Wars seem like a figgin’ Oscar contender.

  • A-nony-mice

    Some of the best horror is when a character disappears off-screen. However, they generally don’t do so quietly, which increases the scare. A simple disappearance with nothing else, no sound, definitely not scary.

    • Matt Donato

      couldn’t agree with you more! I suggest you don’t watch Area 407 ever then….

  • Matt

    I totally agree with you as having Area 407 being the worst horror movie of 2012. It had an annoying protagonist (the little girl recording) and had laughable “creatures.” Also, ATM was such a huge disappointment coming from the guy who wrote Buried. The one thing I never understood about ATM is if you’re in Chicago weather at -6 degrees, why would yo park the car 200 feet away!!!!!!! Great list.

    • Matt Donato

      haha tune in for my end of the year list then, you better believe I found some more that have deservedly earned a place on a worst of 2012 list!

  • bunny69

    Oddly enough, I REALLY enjoyed Area 407! Or I was waaay to o exhausted after working a 12 hour shift at the hospital and felt too brain dead to click the mouse on my computer….

  • C.j. Naylor

    I can agree with some aspects of what I read here. That being said, I enjoyed The Moth Diaries. As a HORROR film? No, that part you got correct. But as a film in general I can enjoy it for the escape that it was. Here is the thing, you are correct that you may “need” more estrogen to enjoy as much as it should be enjoyed, but if you look deeper, it had a classic feel to it. Classic like, Lady in White , Secret Garden sorta thing. I watched this with my wife, and as I was like.. “Skip to the blood already”, she saw it more than what I WANTED it to be. I saw her point and it became mine, ..should it win awards, NO. Should it get a better review, certainly so.

  • Paul D.

    I have to say I really enjoyed Cabin in the Woods… BUT I was warned by another horror friends that it was Not a horror film. When I watched it as a kind of Saw / Hunger Games film, I liked it. I think the main problem was that all the promotion of the film billed it as a horror.

  • Drew Foster

    ‘worst horror film I’ve seen all decade’ – well, I haven’t seen Area 407 but is it possible that it could be ‘better’ than Birdemic? Not sure on that one!

    • Matt Donato

      haha good call sir, but I give Birdemic more credit for at least knowing and embracing its terrible nature. Area 407 was just all around HORRIBLE

      • Ricky Taiwan Hood

        You do know that SY-FY makes their own movies, right? Not sure anything will or can ever top those movies for “bad horror” award

        • Matt Donato

          Yeah, I don’t count them for these kinds of lists though. These are all theatrical, theirs just go straight to SyFy haha I know, I could do a whole other post on whatever two animals SyFy decided to glue together this week.

  • Chris Meyer

    area 407 was a pretty lame movie, saw it on netflix…the only cool part of the movie was how girls die in the end, i laughed my ass off

    • Matt Donato

      haha, that was sick redepmtion for me as well, but jeez, just what a god aweful movie all around. If I watched it for free on Netflix I might have felt a TAD better for not wasting money for a review opportunity, but alas, such are the hardships I face haha I watch movies like Area 407 for the love of horror, taking the good with the bad.
      Area 407 is the worst of the worst lol

  • Chris Meyer

    ive been watching horror movies since i was about 7 or so ( give credit to my dad cuz he works in the med field and all so he thought itd be a good thing for me lol ) and cabin in the woods was an ok movie, buried was an awesome movie ( just my opinion ), but then again it takes a lot to scare me

  • Avro Arrow

    You forgot Chernobyl Diaries. That movie is not only the single WORST horror movie I’ve ever seen, it’s possibly the single worst movie I’ve seen in the last 20 years.

    • Matt Donato

      Check my year end recap and I think you’ll be happy with my selections lol

  • Michael G. Heggemann

    Not sure “The Moth Diaries” really counts…the movie was in the can in 2010, didn’t surface till some film festivals late in 2011, then finally released in theaters in 2012.

    Technically, I guess this would be one of the worst horror movies of 2010 (although I really liked it.)

    • Matt Donato

      yeah, I hear what you’re saying, but I usually go for wide relase on dates because then it’s more relevant to the masses

  • Justin

    Cabin in the Woods was fucking horrible and should be #1 on this list. Clearly, you have no respect for filk.

    • Eric

      Thank God somebody else hates that abomination of a film. Kudos!

    • Andrew Coleman

      Cabin in the Woods was a horror comedy so I’m not sure it counts and personally I loved that film.
      Perhaps not scary enough but it provided a good commentary on the genre and went completely balls out crazy, stupid in the last act which I loved.

    • Matt Donato

      Cabin In The Woods was one of the best genre commentaries I’ve seen in years, was in incredibly enjoyable film, Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford absolutely killed it, and Goddard’s film provided one of the best horror payoffs in a decade I’d say. Can’t really agree with your statement here. In what way was it “horrible”?

      • remy

        Yeah, these two are douche bags.

  • Sherry

    You forgot The Possession, The Apparition and Silent House.

    • Matt Donato

      Wrote this article before those came out. You’re going to love my year end recap then of the 10 worst haha

  • Brandon659

    Worst horror movies of 2012:

  • Brett Lovejoy

    Someone else hated ‘ATM’? Thank God! I could have absolutely loved that film and the final five minutes would have shit all over it. Atrocious movie.

  • Michael Jeffrey Buxton

    The Moth Diaries was tragic and nearly as bad as 11/11/11. I’ll be glad to avoid the pains of watching area 407, thanks.

  • Sirena

    It’s cold outside but I have to air out the room after watching 388 Arletta Avenue. What a stinker! I wish I could get that wasted time back. It’s one of those movies you want to fast forward.

  • Justin Gunterman

    I actually really liked Arletta Avenue. I thought it was a really unique concept, but I understand it’s not for everyone. As for Moth Diaries, I heard it was decent.