Dread Central's Best & Worst of 2009
Zombieland – The zombie apocalypse comes low on drama, low on meat, and high on comedy. I don’t need a half-hour back story to care about each character, and Zombieland takes us through their intros with due haste while retaining their essential sensitivity and, more importantly, their humanity. Just a great time all around with Bill Murray in a show-stopping role. My most anticipated DVD of 2010!!
Orphan – Vera Farmiga has a bad track record with creepy little kids. Can’t catch a break, can you? Not your typical “cute little kid turned spawn of Satan” tale with a delicious twist that is chilling and disturbing all at once. An awesome Saturday night thriller with a room full of friends looking for fun and a screen to scream at.
The Collector – People in a house are systematically offed by an almost supernatural master of traps??!! To be sure, it's a supremely flawed story, but The Collector is saved by excellent execution, a killer soundtrack, awesome actors, and a slick style. The rooms full of traps are extremely over-the-top, unlikely, and at times laughable, but inexplicably, it doesn’t stop the fun! A slinking creeper of a film with very effective tension, jumps, and a baddie who doesn’t quit … or get lame after 20 minutes.
Infestation – A hidden gem in the giant steaming pile that is generally the Syfy Channel's original movie lineup. The human race blacks out and wakes up to … INSECT ARMAGHEDDON!! Witty dialogue, impressive FX make-ups, and original designs for human/insect hybrids make this an awesome Saturday afternoon monster movie you won’t mind watching multiple times.
Sweatshop – I think the theme of 2009 was “don’t over-think it.” Sweatshop is the perfect example of this. Take a bunch of hot raver kids, put them in a rundown warehouse space, add a 2-ton monster with a giant hammer named “The Beast”, and smush till everyone is pulp. No origin explanations … no long-winded drama. Just a tiny sub-story for the slightest bit of depth (if prostitution counts as depth) swimming in a tranquil ocean of blood and gore. She ain’t too pretty, but she sure does horror real well!
The Stepfather – A yawn of a film that takes the initial theme of the crazy stepdad trying to create his perfect family at all costs and turns it into tiresome, sub-standard soap opera devoid of even the slightest of jump scares. If this movie were a little kid performing at a recital, it would have had a big introduction before it took the stage and made fart noises until his teacher smacked him off the head. That’s probably what this movie needed. A swift and mighty backhand.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon – I’m sure everyone will list this movie, or at least those of us who had to eat it and sit through the mind-numbing moments of mental anguish, both on screen and in our own craniums. What does New Moon teach us? Heartache is an anorexic girl screaming into a pillow … the older vampires get, the more ridiculous they act … and most importantly, you can always spot a werewolf clan by their lack of shirts. Not horror, not decent drama or sound love story … just not good at all. Pain, thy name is Twilight. See you again next year.
Knowing – After watching this film, I had to research Scientology to make sure I didn’t just see a recruitment video. Thrill as Nic Cage unravels the secrets behind the end of the world, while drunk, and then runs around doing a whole lot of nothing while things blow up real good. Granted, the carnage moments are spectacular, but two seconds later we are back into the muck and mire of bad writing, horrific dialogue, and a storyline that seems ripped from M. Night Shyamalan’s back pocket. He could sue if this one made any money.
Gothkill – It’s probably bad karma to pick on a movie with such a small budget, but this horror fiasco doesn’t have one redeemable moment. I couldn’t even say it was so bad I laughed out loud. A flimsy premise, catastrophic pacing, zero scares, an earsplitting soundtrack, and 16 miles of exposition make this straight to DVD release unwatchable.
The Haunted World of El Superbeasto – The juvenile dream of three overly horny 13-year-old boys with a love of Ren and Stimpy and a wish to see animated boobs on the screen every five minutes. Follow the adventures of former wrestler turned pornographer Superbeasto and his nails on a chalkboard voiced sister as they fight zombie Nazis, Doctor Satan, and good taste. I’m no paragon of decency, but the creators of this mess packed it so full of foul language, nudity, immature songs, and disgusting premises that it all becomes boring as hell. Probably the biggest waste of premium animation ever put on a screen. It’s like asking Dali to ditch the watches in favor of floppy nipples. When does it end?