Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010
5. Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy
There might have been two big Freddy Krueger films in 2010, but only one of them was fit to don Freddy’s crumpled old fedora. Some of my Dread Central colleagues were heavily involved in the creation of this exhaustive and expansive documentary – a fact which has no bearing on the accolade I’m giving it.
Here’s a film that explores its subject with as much depth and insight as humanly possible. Funny, fascinating and surprisingly touching, Never Sleep Again brilliantly documents all facets of “Freddy Mania” with a keen eye.
4. Best Worst Movie
Yes, this made the film festival rounds in 2009, but its official theatrical release wasn’t until this year – which qualifies it for this list. This Troll 2 reunion isn’t simply an exploration of the longevity and appeal behind Claudio Fragasso’s ridiculous cult sensation but, more interestingly, works as a character study of leading man George Hardy. Watching Hardy’s emotions run the gamut from awestruck to annoyed makes for gripping storytelling – especially when he’s joined by the film’s other participants. Alternating between hilarious and depressing, there have been few films in recent memory as compelling as this.
While Adam Green is perhaps best known for the over-the-top Hatchet double feature, his psychological films have convinced me that this guy knows how to put a movie together. Frozen is so affecting that it guarantees you’ll be watching it through squinted eyes and the cracks of your fingers. It certainly helps that the actors bring these characters to life in a way that makes them completely believable. Green’s commitment to old school filmmaking (i.e., filming this in impossibly brutal conditions instead of bullshit green screen) solidifies this as one of 2010’s greats while also being the best film to date in his promising career.
2. The Human Centipede (First Sequence)
No film this year was more of a delightful surprise than Tom Six’s mad scientist oddity. Audiences were disgusted before this film even hit theaters (to this day I have friends who angrily refuse to watch it) as we all know people love controversy. Of course, the detractors might be shocked to discover the depravity is considerably restrained and frequently hilarious. It’s not without some unsettling moments, either. In fact, Human Centipede works so well because it’s a rollercoaster of humor, horror and well-executed suspense. The end result? A new classic in my house. FEED HER!!!!!!
I’m still astounded that Warner Bros. had the stones to release such a commercially unfriendly film to theaters … and in a summer slot to boot! It’s a shame the risk didn’t pay off, but Splice was an easy choice for my number one spot this year as no other film managed to resonate in quite the same way. The idea that sins of the parents are repeated on their children is what drives this twisted little sci-fi shocker and provides some surprisingly complex substance to chew on once the credits have rolled. Not for all tastes, this unexpected trip back into old school Cronenberg territory isn’t afraid to take risks, while Dren is one of the most magical CGI creations of all time.
5. Resident Evil: Afterlife
I didn’t hate watching this, the fourth installment in the inexplicably enduring franchise, but it’s writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson’s absolute contempt for coherent storytelling that places this one on the list. It’s nothing but a barrage of amazing coincidences as our heroes combat an evil corporation seemingly hell-bent on killing everyone - despite the fact that there’s only a handful of survivors left in this ravaged wasteland. Time and time again, Anderson has displayed his startling inability to think his story through, but never has it been as glaring as in Afterlife. It’s watchable, but you’re going to hate yourself afterwards.
I wanted to love Robert A. Masciantonio’s Neighbor based on its premise alone: a mysterious woman stalking and killing the residents of a small town for no discernable reason. Unfortunately, America Olivio proves she doesn’t have the chops to carry a film of this nature, and the rest of the cast succeeds in nothing but grating on the nerves. Poor writing and slack direction that fails in generating any suspense really sinks this abominable effort on nearly every level.
Seriously, Full Moon, why’d you even bother? The same no budget crap you’ve been churning out for the last seventeen years … only difference being that this time you said it would be different. You lied.
2. Road Kill (Road Train)
When I put an Aussie movie on my “worst of” list, you know it’s a pile of filth. This isn’t just among the worst piles of garbage of 2010, it’s one of the worst things I have ever encountered in the genre.
1. A Nightmare on Elm Street
Thanks for making it easy, Platinum Dunes. Make no mistake; this remake is among the most execrable ever put to film. Let’s attribute it to the complete lack of innovation in the dream sequences and the bland collection of actors slogging their way through this turgid mess. Jackie Earle Haley never had a chance with this script, but he does nothing to elevate the character of Freddy Krueger either. Everyone involved here succeeded only in one thing: killing this new franchise before it even got out of the gate. Good riddance.