Dread Central's Best & Worst of 2009

Uncle Creepy's Picks

Two thousand and nein. Nein! Nein! Nein! Yes, there were plenty of times throughout the year that made me feel as if I were a Nazi having encountered the famed Bear Jew. Still, we have to shrug off those baseball bat strikes to the head as a means to talk about the good times, and 2009 was riddled with highs and lows.

Before I begin let's talk about the cinema landscape. It has completely changed. It used to be that going direct-to-video was a form of death sentence, but now DTV is where a lot of the good stuff has been coming out. As a result my Best of and Worst of lists will be comprised of both theatrical and video releases.

Without further ado and in no particular order as I both loved and loathed each film about the same ...

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2009

Paul Solet's GraceGrace:
Paul Solet's intriguing new spin on the living dead subgenre was both disturbing and gut-wrenching. That's exactly how I like my movies, too! Let me be the first to say that I hate kids. The little bastards have a tendency to ruin everything. Should anyone ever ask me why, this film is my prime example. They can just suck you dry, man! Special shout-out to Jordan Ladd, who in my estimation gave the performance of the year in a horror film.

District 9:
A little sci-fi flavor makes it into my Best of list thanks to the high octane alien-fueled action of District 9. Described by one of my esteemed colleagues who hated it as "The Fly II in Shanty Town", for me this flick went above and beyond what I look for in my extraterrestrial cinematic entertainment. For my money D9, which is just as preachy, packed more punch than Cameron's juggernaut Avatar while giving us horror fans more of what we want from this type of film. One of the year's biggest surprises for sure.

Drag Me to Hell:
Welcome back, Sam Raimi. We've missed you so. Drag Me to Hell is a textbook horror movie and embodies most of the genre's very definitions. For all intents and purposes with a little altering this easily could have been labeled Evil Dead 4, and fans would have been clamoring for more. Sticky, gooey, spooky, and starring a mean-ass spirit who will punch you in the fuckin' face, it honestly doesn't get much better than this, folks. Don't let its PG-13 rating scare you off. This flick delivers on all counts!

Trick 'r Treat:
If there's one thing that floats my boat just as much if not more than zombie flicks, it's anthology films. Mike Dougherty's Trick 'r Treat is the best of its kind since the big daddy of them all, Creepshow. Why it sat on the shelf for over a year is anyone's guess. Given a proper Halloween timed release, this would have made bank at the box office. Maybe it had something to do with all the child deaths in the flick. See? I told you those pricks ruin everything!

Paranormal Activity:
Now this feels good. Paranormal Activity has made quite a few of our lists since 2007, and now that it has been officially released, it can take its official rightful spot on one. While no one else even knew what this movie was, we were singing its praises. Like it or not (it certainly isn't for everyone), the film not only made millions at the box office during its uniquely demanded theatrical run (hat's off to Paramount for that one), but it has changed the way that the big studios who normally play it safe with either sequels, remakes, PG-13 fodder, or something based upon a graphic novel are looking at independent filmmakers and their original films. If we take anything out of this past decade -- horror or otherwise -- this change in perspective is easily the best one for all parties concerned -- especially for us, the fans and viewers.

Honorable Mentions: Zombieland, House of the Devil, The Hills Run Red, The Haunting in Connecticut, My Bloody Valentine 3D.

Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2009

 Left for Dead on DVD and Blu-ray (click for larger image)Wrong Turn 3:
Hey! Let's take a surprisingly good franchise that's lots of fun and has been monetarily successful and attempt to cash in on its name by giving people the phoned-in entry they anticipated Part II to be! That's a great idea! And hey! Never mind a director who cares about the film he's making! Let's find someone who's only looking to collect a paycheck! AND instead of smart kills made with practical effects, let's give folks mainly poorly rendered CGI splatter that looks as if it was fashioned about ten years ago! Epic fail, Fox. Epic fucking fail.

The Cell 2:
Remember that ultra stylish Jennifer Lopez flick The Cell? Yeah, it kind of sucked, but wow, did it have some of the most amazingly striking visual sequences of our times. Yes! You do remember! Well hold on to those memories because you won't be making any new ones with this second-rate laughable cinematic fiasco.

The Box:
This is your classic example of taking a good story that could be told in less than thirty minutes and padding it out to become a two-hour long metaphysical snooze-a-thon with a silly alien plot twist that you may just miss somewhere after its first hour of undecipherable needless retardation. Attention director Richard Kelly -- how about just telling a story? Is that so rough?

Children of the Corn:
Shit. Very few movies embody that word. This is one of the more smeary examples of the Brotherhood of the Brown. From top to bottom nothing about it works. Bad acting. Bad directing. Bad dialogue. Hell, they couldn't even find a spooky kid to put in the lead. Instead they gave this really little kid a hat with a brim that was about seven times wider than the span of his shoulders. Yeah. Really creepy. Thanks for that.

Friday the 13th:
Let me start off by saying that there were a lot of films released this year that were worse than this ill inspired Platinum Dunes remake. However, there were no other ones that made me physically angry, and that's why this one is sitting here like the bastard child that it is. The Friday the 13th formula is a really simple one to follow: Kids show up. Kids die in horrible yet memorable ways. That's it. How you can fuck that up remains a mystery to me. Friday the 13th is a classic example of filmmakers tooling around with something that they really don't understand. The only victims to be found in this flaccid piece of cinematic douchebaggery other than those of us who paid to see it is the actor who played Jason himself, Derek Mears. Out of everyone involved with this mess, he seemed to be the only one concerned with making a good Friday film for the fans. Despite having nothing to do, his portrayal of Jason was spot on. Bring Mears back and team him with a director that actually knows the franchise, and the inevitable Part 2 could just be a winner. Wait … who am I kidding? This is Platinum Dunes we're talking about! Their only concern is cash and posing with prop police cars.

Dishonorable Mentions: The Final Destination, Horsemen, Halloween II, Jennifer’s Body, The Canyon.


[Andrew Kasch]

[Matt Fini]

[Morgan Elektra]


[The Buz]

[The Foywonder]

[The Woman in Black]

[Uncle Creepy]


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Revolver's picture

Oh man, I keep remembering good movies that I have not seen listed here, but then again these are my opinions. The Tripper, Otis, Satans Little Helper, Night of the Creeps, Trick r Treat, Hardware, Punisher War Zone (not horror I know but gruesome anyway), Severance, Severed (I liked it), Botched, Mirrors (forgive me), The Host, Black Sheep (funny right?),Freak Out (pushing it I know), and Ink. Just some of my beer hazed mind thinking.

Not a monster, not a bogeyman. Understand that it's just a person-not worth devoting any nightmares to.

Submitted by Revolver on Wed, 01/06/2010 - 10:42pm.
Revolver's picture

Did anyone add "REPO! The genetic opera" to their list of cool movies? I really liked it and it seems there is going to be a remake of sorts called "Repo men" Blatent rip off.

Not a monster, not a bogeyman. Understand that it's just a person-not worth devoting any nightmares to.

Submitted by Revolver on Wed, 01/06/2010 - 10:21pm.
onenonlyheather's picture

Wow! I looked up Repo Men on IMDB, and yeah, it's a big budget version of Repo! The Genetic Opera! without the music. There's big arguments on the boards having to do with what was written first and why isn't someone being sued?

Submitted by onenonlyheather on Thu, 01/14/2010 - 9:16pm.
jonny_numb's picture

Hats off to Foy for taking the less predictable route and naming End of the Line his favorite of the year. After a wobbly 15 minutes of setup, the movie quite literally goes to Hell. What could have turned into a campy flick instead chilled my blood.

For anyone who hasn't seen it, here's the short that made me a fan of Maurice Devereaux:


Submitted by jonny_numb on Wed, 01/06/2010 - 10:20pm.
Floydian Trip's picture

The fact that The Burrowers gets so little mention makes me wonder if anyone but the ladies can tell a great movie when they see one.

Submitted by Floydian Trip on Tue, 01/05/2010 - 3:37pm.
sav's picture

did anyone put Mulberry st on their list? i thought it was original and for the budget extremely effective....i mean ZOMBIE RAT PEOPLE....genius...fucking genious

****but it wasn't 09 so ill just shut the fuck up!

Submitted by sav on Tue, 01/05/2010 - 7:58am.

Kind of sad I Can See You didn't get any mentions. It's starts off normal with a bunch of hipster ad-men going off into the woods to camp. Progresses the same as all horror films. Then BAM musical number awesomely placed for no good reason. Then back to normal again until the end where it veers off into an abyss of mindfuck nonsense only David Lynch could appreciate.

It certainly wasn't the best film of the year but it was so odd in awesome, quirky ways that it deserves to be seen.

Submitted by AngryChairr on Tue, 01/05/2010 - 4:38am.
moderator It's on my list to watch --
Debi Moore's picture

It's on my list to watch -- just haven't had the time yet. But I've heard a lot of good things.

Submitted by Debi Moore on Tue, 01/05/2010 - 1:22pm.

Best flick of the year is "Triangle" dir by Chris Smith. H2 is better than the first one. And if you like Paranormal Activity, something's very wrong. Paranormal State on A&E does it better in 21 minutes a shot with quality music, good Cinematography and real scares, not a movie that has been made by countless others and just not seen by Steven Spielberg... that movie is like a cheap loser band who can't play like "Fall out Boy" (I was sound engineer..got the real scoop on those cats) catching a break for knowing someone, not for talent reasons. Boo!

Submitted by rockhigh on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 10:32pm.
Gareth Jones's picture

*Parachutes in*

"Hey, where the party at?!?"



Good lists, folks! Thinking it over, 2009 doesn't seem to have been that bad a year overall. It was much easier to pull more great films from memory than terrible ones...but maybe that's due to mental trauma response, I dunno.

Creepy & Co., apologies for quite some length in the Comments, but get your trunks on for my list.

I’ve been lucky enough this year to have seen a few flicks that haven’t surfaced Stateside yet, but I’m sure you guys will love ‘em. To keep things getting too messy I've also kept it to mainly theatrical/festival flicks. Straight to DVD is still way too easy pickings for the Worst. The decisions are always hard, so everything is in no particular order, but here are the movies that I most – and least – enjoyed in 2009.


Ti West’s throwback to the late 70s/early 80s is so damn good you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d actually walked in on someone watching a lost classic. Unsettling, tense and just plain masterfully crafted, this Satanic Panic flick hits all the right buttons.

Sam Raimi returns to the genre with this slam-bang entry, oozing with an EC Comics style. While it certainly does lean on the comedic side of things, it never strays too far from what one expects from Raimi and the fantastic direction coupled with staggering sound design make for a truly theatrical experience. Welcome back, Sam, don’t disappear for too long.

An exceptionally easy choice for my Top 10, Tom Six’s film is disturbing, gut-churning madness and features one of the best on-screen villains of the decade. Every horror fan needs to see this. When that will be possible, I don’t know...but I hope it’ll be very soon.

I’ve said it before about this one – Left 4 Dead: The Movie. There you go. Fast paced, bursting with action and just plain adrenaline-fuelled, La Horde is a blast from start to finish. If you’re not a “running zombie” hating puritan, throw this to the top of your zombie-lovin’ wish list.

Not just a member of my top five for the year, but my undeniable number one. District 9 is nothing short of absolutely astounding. The greatest theatrical experience of 2009, and also the best at home courtesy of the mind-blowingly awesome Blu Ray release.


Worst :

An utter heap of faux-edgy tripe, I just wished the entire damn cast would “shutty” and get the credits rolling already. Was Jennifer’s character supposed to change as part of this, or did I miss something besides from some bigger teeth? I know it has its fans, but for me this was almost unbearable.

“Fuck! Fuck! FUCKKK! Aaaahh....fuck...fa...fa, fa, FUCK! FUCK-kak-kaaa, a-huuu, aa-huukkk, fuck...”
Rob Zombie pisses all over the series again.

As a massive fan of the series, and Jason as an iconic slasher, this made me want to weep. More faux-grittiness from Platinum Dunes and while Derek Mears makes for a physically great Jason, he’s betrayed by the script. Jason keeps people alive but unconscious? He takes hostages now because they look like mommy? This isn’t a remake, just another shitty sequel. Double “fuck you” goes to the so-called “whole new film” of the extended DVD/Blu-Ray.

Jumby? Are you fucking kidding me?

Dario can try as much as he likes to claim that this was always intended as a send-up of the genre, or things beyond his control messed it up, but excuses are excuses and this is plain shit – a nice big curly yellow dog turd. Adrien Brody’s wobbling rubber nose might be worth the price of admission in laughs, but in the end it all just feels like one big joke aimed squarely at you, the unfortunate viewer.


Submitted by Gareth Jones on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 8:37pm.

Friday the 13th is definitely getting too much flak here. It seems like everyone is getting too hung up on the lack of 'unique' kills. And while I agree that they were all pretty basic, they were at least brutal enough to be enjoyable. The film did was it should, and that was provide a solid reboot to get the rest of the sequels going again. It has a good actor doing Jason, and it established what sort of Jason he is (the 'wild woodsmen', as opposed to the 'invincible zombie'). It did have flaws (Jason taking a prisoner is wrong no matter how you look at it), but it's still a decent film (certianly better than some of the drek in the franchise, like Part II). It's a room-to-grow situation, and I look forward to further offerings.

Otherwise, I generally agree with the lists. I am very happy to see Paranormal Activity, Drag Me To Hell, District 9, and Trick 'r Treat getting lots of much-deserved love. I'd also like to give a high five to WIB for including the stellar Moon and The Foywonder for including the excellent Pontypool.

Submitted by Relaxing Dragon on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 8:18pm.
moderator Dragon, since you seem to be
Debi Moore's picture

Dragon, since you seem to be so forgiving of F13, I'm curious as to what your worst *theatrical* picks would be. I really had a hard time coming up with anything (other than Jen's Body) that fit the bill as well as F13. Direct-to-DVD, no problem, but theatrically, nothing was worse than what Platinum Dunes did to Jason as far as I was concerned.

And thanks for the Moon love -- that film really needs to be seen by everyone!

Submitted by Debi Moore on Tue, 01/05/2010 - 1:27pm.

Apologies and standard excuses for the late post.

I must admit, my pickings for a worst-of-the-year list would be rather slim. This is mainly to do with the fact that most of the obvious choices (New Moon, Halloween II, The Final Destination) I didn't actually watch. I somehow found better things to do with my $11. I suppose if I could count sci-fi stuff I'd put Transformers 2 on (it was certainly a horror to watch).

So, under the reasoning of nothing being worse (matters of opinion notwithstanding), it could work on someone's list. I just don't think it deserves to be on any such list because I happened to enjoy it and think it a suitable reboot for the franchise (especially considering its other recent outings).

And yeah: Moon love all the way 8)

Submitted by Relaxing Dragon on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 10:30pm.
moderator Sorry man, but Friday the
Steve Barton's picture

Sorry man, but Friday the 13th deserves its flack and then some. The kills were brutal? Really? They were as lame as they come. It's such a simple formula, really. It was botched about as badly as it could have been. The only redeeming value this has is its surprisingly good Cliffs Notes beginning and Derek Mears as Jason. Other than that it reeks ridiculously thick of Platinum Dunes looking to make a buck off of another franchise. And that's coming from someone who actually liked the Texas Chainsaw remake.

Submitted by Steve Barton on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 8:23pm.
FireRam's picture

I too also thought the kills were WEAK. My fav was the girl getting cooked in the sleeping bag, BUT, it was brief and not too graphic. I wish the scene would have been prolonged a bit, and been more graphic. Maybe I'm sick but watching someone burn (movies, JUST movies) is my favorite way to watch someone go. I really liked the dad getting cooked being tied to the tree in "The Hills have Eyes"!

Submitted by FireRam on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 9:22pm.

What really gets me is how everybody is hung up over kills. Kills, kills, kills. They are not the sole component of a good horror film; after all, what point is suspense, atmosphere, plot, and characterization, if everyone's worried about how inventive and dragged out the kills are? So, it seems that the film everyone wants is just "unique, stylized, and unrealistic slayings," after another without of the other components. Jeeze! ! !

Yet, "Friday the 13th" did not have any of these. Still, we are going to be bombarded with these half-developed films until we mature and evolve as an audience and demand better movies, instead of existing as the carnage happy automatons that we are.

Just saying...

Submitted by robertmundy on Wed, 01/06/2010 - 5:12pm.

Brutal in the simple sense of damage caused (the thrown ax kill, for instance). I simply don't see a botch here. It had the forumla down, what with the fair amounts of sex (and deaths to those who had it), it had the comic relief characters (who were actually funny for once), and it had Jason stalking everyone just on the other side of the wall/floorboards/what-have-you. Shoot, even his caves can be handwaved as something he dug and uses to do said stalking (I mean, he's got a lot of time on his hands, after all).

Submitted by Relaxing Dragon on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 8:46pm.
moderator Disagree completely. Here's
Steve Barton's picture

Disagree completely. Here's all that had to happen: Kids show up. Kids die in creative and sometimes ironic ways. Roll credits. That's it. It's really that simple, and how this formula got screwed up is a complete and utter mystery. The Friday the 13th remake is over-produced, over-shot, over-thought, and not over soon enough. But its biggest sin? It's just not fun, and that's something that every Friday film, for all of their missteps and misfires, homo-erotic shaving bits and imposters, were.

In the Platinum Dunes remake we had the nonsensical missing sister/Jason takes a hostage subplot which single handedly killed said formula. The most creative kill was the machete through the head on the dock, the rest were cookie cutter at best. Come on a thrown axe? A stab in the throat with a screwdriver?

Even the The music is miscued.

Submitted by Steve Barton on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 9:27pm.

I continue to think that you're getting too caught up on the creative kill aspect. Consider that in the beginning of the series, the kills weren't all that creative either (even not counting the Jason-less first entry). Mostly just a lot of machete stabbings and impalings and what-have-yous. It wasn't really until the middle of the series that all the kills really started to branch out. Considering this is supposed to be a restart, that sort of fits.

Plus, and this seems to just be me, I did have fun with it. Mainly, I admit, because I really liked the new Jason (even you guys did too). Since these movies basically revolve around him, when he's good and enjoyable to watch that makes the rest of the film enjoyable to watch (and I even had a terrible theater audience when I saw this (damn potheads in the back rows), still enjoyed myself). Though I admit the enjoyment aspect is a pretty subjective aspect (and it is missing that 80s charm that added to the classic series funness).

Submitted by Relaxing Dragon on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 11:51pm.
The Buz's picture

I still do not see, and probably will never see how one can LOVE the original pieces of shit, but not like this new piece of shit.

As far as I'm concerned, they are all the same exact piece of shit, just molded in different ways.

Even though I enjoyed the Friday remake, but then again I saw it with a rowdy theater crowd who made the experience all the more enjoyable.

Submitted by The Buz on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 10:30pm.
Sirand's picture

Because the original piece of shit at least had some innovative gags courtesy of Tom Savini...not to mention a sleazy low-budget 42nd St feel.

I'll take that over the MTV garbage Platinum Dunes gave us.

Submitted by Sirand on Tue, 01/05/2010 - 4:15pm.
Revolver's picture

I was on the fence as far as the new Friday goes, but I think this reinventing is a conglomeration of all of the Friday movies. Trying to get the new audience into the Friday franchise is no easy task. This one movie combines all the other movies into one easy to swallow pill. Just imagine what Nightmare on Elm Street fans will have to sit through to bring new fans on board. Going into the way back machine to define what Freddy has become even tho the veterans already know the story.

Not a monster, not a bogeyman. Understand that it's just a person-not worth devoting any nightmares to.

Submitted by Revolver on Wed, 01/06/2010 - 10:55pm.
LifeMi's picture

Yes, they might all be the same film. True, there is no real story; it's just an environment with characters getting knocked off. But that's not the point. The whole point of this franchise is to do nothing more than entertain the audience and give them 90 minutes worth of great gore. That's why we love these movies, regardless of whether they're good (Part 4) or bad (Jason X). The remake didn't even remotely entertain nor did it have any great gore. The remake was an unredeemable piece of shit. At least Jason Goes to Hell and Jason X are fun to laugh at. There's nothing wrong with not liking these films, but in a world where we have 6 Leprechaun films, 2 Twilight films and 2 Transformers films, Friday the 13th looks positively stunning in comparison.

Submitted by LifeMi on Tue, 01/05/2010 - 12:48am.
RingoJ's picture

Nope, you never will understand.

Submitted by RingoJ on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 10:56pm.

Hmmm...maybe I should see the house of the devil.

Completely agree about 99% of these lists. Still don't understand why people dislike jennifers body so much. But, I do understand why train is the worst on one list. I really dislike torture porn films (that phrase reads like an oxymoron..."films" my ass). Really wish they would just stop making them altogether. I don't hate gore or explicit torture scenes, but they lose their effect after the third scene in 20 minutes.

Watchmen and district 9 are both fantastic horror tinged additions though!

Submitted by Axeslinger0u812 on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 7:59pm.

Pig Hunt got released here in the uk a couple of months ago and is easily one of the worst films I've seen this year!

Submitted by will graham on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 5:41pm.
The Buz's picture

Like I said, it was everything I was looking for in that kind of movie. I thoroughly enjoyed the living fuck out of Pig Hunt. But I understand the hate. The beginning is too long. It just takes awhile for the really good shit to start, but once it does, it more than makes up for the beginning.

Submitted by The Buz on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 10:28pm.
moderator It seems to really be a love
Debi Moore's picture

It seems to really be a love it or hate it kind of film. I know two people who agree with Buz and a couple who, like you, thought it absolutely sucked. Guess that's what makes the world go 'round!

Submitted by Debi Moore on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 7:34pm.
El Regio Dude's picture

And speaking about top ten lists, what about the
Foycast??? It´s the show i wait every year...

"Santo llamando a Blue Demon..."

Submitted by El Regio Dude on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 4:30pm.
El Regio Dude's picture

"Not Quite Hollywood" was an excelent pick, Fini.
That documentary is awesome!

"Santo llamando a Blue Demon..."

Submitted by El Regio Dude on Mon, 01/04/2010 - 1:10pm.

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