Monday, December 14, 2015

2015 Countdown: The Worst of Horror

Exeter. This jumbled confusion of a movie is little more than a bunch of exorcism clichés tossed onto a lovely set – which makes it all the more annoying. Exeter’s glossy look and high production value belies a hackneyed, chaotic story and uninspired characters. It’s a movie to watch while falling asleep, at best.

Cooties. Although this is really not one of the worst horror movies I’ve seen this year, it’s on this list because it was such a disappointment. I had high hopes for an Elijah Wood-produced and -starring zombie movie (it immediately brought to mind nostalgic memories of The Faculty for me), and I’m predisposed to like any movie with creepy, murderous children. Unfortunately, Cooties failed to satisfy on any level, be it laughs, gore, or suspense. It had a few good one-liners, but the majority of the plot was simply too static and slow.

The Gallows. As has been the case every year since forever, it seems, plenty of lame found footage horror movies came out this year – Unfriended, Nightlight, Creep – to varying degrees of middling success. However, The Gallows wins my personal prize for worst FF-style horror because it has all the hallmarks of a typical FF movie (annoying dialogue that does nothing to advance the plot, amateur acting, drab camera angles), and absolutely nothing else. It was a total drag.

The Lazarus Effect. A cool idea undone by the smallness of its scope. The Lazarus Effect took great actors, a creepy (if unoriginal) idea, and a great first half hour – and made it totally suck. I think its failure is due in large part to the fact that the story never leaves the laboratory or the course of a single night, so everything feels super rushed, cramped (both literally and figuratively), and colorless (again, both literally and figuratively). When the movie does briefly enter otherworldly territory, it’s mostly illogical and pointless.

Muck. Meant to be a “throwback to old-school horror,” this derivative, hollow dribble is anything but. Muck lacks the heart and soul of older slashers and tries to make up for it with boobs. Even for those who are really hard up, I think this movie will fail to engage or titillate in any way.

Sinister II. “Here’s an idea: let’s take the most boring, un-scary part of a great movie, and build an entire sequel around it!” I think those were the actual words of the people who came up with the plot of Sinister II. But seriously, everyone knows the ghost children were the weakest part of the original, and mostly fantastic, Sinister. So why the hell would you make them the main characters of the sequel?

Poltergeist. Of course a slick Hollywood cash-grab had to make this list. The most damning thing about this remake is the fact that it was marketed as a straight horror film, when that’s not what the original was at all. The original was a typical Spielberg mash-up of adventure and childlike wonder, sprinkled with a little horror after Tobe Hooper was called in to take over. This remake tries to be scary, but whoever made it didn’t have the chops to transform it into the horror movie the trailers promised, so it just comes off as another terrible PG-13 “horror” movie. I also hold this lame attempt responsible for slashing the funding on the upcoming It reboot, which actually sounded good before the bigwigs forced out any sort of creative interpretation based on the fact that the Poltergeist remake didn’t do well, and Hollywood deduced that to simply mean, “Americans don’t like clowns.”

Knock Knock. Eli Roth’s foray into erotic thriller territory is probably the most outstandingly bad movie on this list. Totally ridiculous and often nonsensical, laden with bad acting and risible dialogue (the pizza speech, my god), this movie almost seems proud of its badness. For that reason alone, it has a tiny bit of potential for rewatching. Who knows, in five or ten years it might be a campy favorite of mine. But I seriously doubt it.

So there you have it; my least favorite horror films of 2015. Sorry to the losers - but at least you're excelling at something.

What's on your list of worst horror for the year? Tell me in the comments!

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