Thursday, October 17, 2013

2013 Halloween Movie Roundup: The Bad

For the next three weeks leading up to Halloween, I'm going to review all the notable horror movies I've seen this year, going from worst to best. Hope you enjoy!

Static. A husband and wife, reeling after the death of their young son, find their lives further complicated by the appearance of a mysterious stranger who knows more about the couple than she’ll admit. This is one of those movies with a “twist” ending that’s really just nonsensical garbage. A good twist ending should make you think, in hindsight, “Oh… of course!” This story plods along slowly – the writers clearly didn’t have many ideas beyond the “twist” – until a surprise ending pops out of nowhere. You think it’s just a generic home invasion movie, but it’s actually something even more hackneyed and overdone.

The ABCs of Death. I’m usually a fan of horror anthologies (in fact, another horror anthology will show up elsewhere in my Halloween list), but this one didn’t work for me. At all. As the name suggests, this anthology is made up of 26 horror shorts, one for each letter of the alphabet. I don’t know if the format was too constrictive – making an effective horror film that only lasts a few minutes is certainly a difficult, but not impossible, task – or if the filmmakers weren’t up to snuff, but the majority of the stories are just… not good. Not to mention that almost none of them are scary; most filmmakers seemed to aim for “gross” in lieu of anything legitimately frightening. I think I enjoyed maybe three shorts.

John Dies at the End. I’m probably going to get flack for this, considering the huge fan base the book has cultivated, but I couldn’t get into this movie. In fact, I didn’t even finish it. I know, I know – but I tried! Twice! And I thought I would love it; it has horror, comedy, and super quirky characters, all of which I usually enjoy. But something about it never clicked for me. Maybe it was too much scifi and not enough horror for my taste? Or too all-over-the-place? I guess I’ll never know.

Aftershock. A bunch of not-too-likeable tourists traveling in Chile experience an earthquake while partying in a nightclub, and it turns out that the earthquake was the least of their problems. This is one of those “humans are the real monsters” movies, and I suppose it works to a certain extent. The problem is that pretty much every character is so mean, shallow, or stupid, that it’s difficult to want to sit through a movie watching them do anything, let alone getting tortured and maimed in disturbing and disgusting ways. It’s not the goriest movie I’ve ever seen, and it didn’t offend my (not so) delicate sensibilities, but the meanness of this movie (towards its characters and its audience) made it impossible to enjoy in any way.

Girls Against Boys. I’m all for tough girl/revenge girl/killer girl horrors movies, but this is another one that features a rather tired twist ending. It’s basically a rape revenge movie with a side of crazy thrown in, and while it’s not the worst I’ve seen, it’s not good. Or scary.

The Lords of Salem. I wanted to like this, just like I want so badly to like every Rob Zombie film – because the man has flashes of horror brilliance every now and then that hint at his potential! That’s probably why I own both Halloween I and II; despite being awful movies, you can’t deny that they have their moments. But anyway, despite being visually stunning in more ways than one, there’s no story here, just a lot of pretty pictures and weird ideas strung together in what is ostensibly some sort of modern Salem witch story. Wife Sherri Moon Zombie’s acting doesn’t help, as usual.

Texas Chainsaw 3D. This might be the worst of the worst, because it is so offensively Hollywood-ized. A prequel to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a young woman travels to Texas to look into a house she inherited from a distant aunt (yup, that house). There’s a big reversal of sympathies at the end that could have been compelling in the right hands, but here comes off as ridiculous – mainly because this movie has no heart whatsoever.

Warm Bodies. Okay, this one might actually be the worst to me, because hello? Zombies do not have feelings. That is their main terrifying feature: they kill and eat humans violently and indiscriminately, and you can’t tell them not to because they don’t think. This movie is like the Twilight of zombies (“We don’t drink human blood! We sparkle!”), and I don’t think I could hate it more. Essentially (spoilers that are totally obvious from the trailer, yo), a woman discovers that she can cure zombification with love. Arrggh gag blargh. It’s not even good if you view it as a romantic comedy.

What were your least favorite movies of 2013? Tune in next week for more horror picks!

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