Dread Central's Best and Worst of 2010
If there's a word that sums up the movie year of 2010, it would have to be unmemorable. I can think of only three movies in the past 12 months that I would go so far as to call great. Narrow the field down to just the horror genre, and assembling a list of the five best of the year becomes a near impossibility for me. Even most of the ones I enjoyed left no lasting impression on me. So in putting this list together, I decided to base my opinion on what horror movies do I still remember at year's end, what movies I still talk about, what films I still recommend to others, the ones I’d be willing to watch again. Basing my decisions on such criteria, a movie from The Asylum is on my best of the year list. Even I cannot believe this. This could be a sign of the apocalypse.
5) MEGA PIRANHA
I decided to give my #5 slot to my favorite so-bad-it’s-good movie of the year. A movie like this you either laugh with it, at it, or hate it. I had a blast doing the first two. In fact, thinking back on it long and hard, I had more fun watching Mega Piranha than Piranha 3D. Despite crazy Christopher Lloyd, fully nude Kelly Brook in 3D, and some of the most over-the-top nature gone amok carnage ever put to film, Piranha 3D never fully clicked with me for some reason. On the other hand, in an over-the-top b-movie way, Mega Piranha did. What can I say? I had more fun watching fake CGI giant piranha leap out of the water, crashing and exploding into multi-story buildings, than I did watching fake CGI prehistoric piranhas devour spring breakers. I called this film "blissfully retarded" in my review. In a year I found to be as lackluster as this, "blissfully retarded" is just good enough to make it onto my best list.
4) THE LOVED ONES
For my #4 pick I selected a film I've been lucky enough to see that most of you have not yet had the opportunity to see because it has yet to be released in the US. I’ve heard this movie described as John Hughes does torture porn. That’s an unfair description. Unlike a myriad of torture-themed films I've seen, The Loved Ones uses the gruesomeness to actually ratchet up the suspense rather than just aiming for shock value or tantalizing viewers with gory money shots. Add in the surreal father-daughter maniac relationship, and you have an extra layer of creep factor. I first saw this film with a room full of teenagers on Halloween night, and believe me when I tell you it had every one of them freaking out. Seek it out when it finally comes your way.
3) THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE)
I’m still not even sure I actually enjoyed this seriously fucked up horror film from the demented mind of Tom Six. His is most definitely a demented mind. Normal people don't dream up movies about mad scientists sewing people together ass-to-mouth. There is no denying The Human Centipede (First Sequence) is the most memorable horror movie of the year. Even people who haven't seen it talk about this one, if just to let it be known they find the premise so vile they'll never watch it. The only reason I think the film works and the reason it’s on my list at all has to do with one man: Dieter Laser. His mad scientist is one of the best deranged geniuses gone wrong in ages. Combine his intense, sometimes darkly comical performance with the icky imagery of people getting sewn together ass-to-mouth and… I’m not even sure how to finish that sentence.
2) [REC] 2
[REC] 2 is the very model of how to make a sequel that’s really just more of the same yet feels fresh and delivers everything you liked about the original while expanding upon its mythology in a way that enhances both films. Aside from the motivations that leads to the introduction of a group of dumb teenagers (I refuse to believe any teenagers could be this dumb), this a smart, scary, exciting dark ride of a movie that delivers the first-person POV thrills I’ve never gotten from the Paranormal Activity films.
1) RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE
I can very much see this one becoming a Christmas tradition in my household. In my review I heralded it as not only the best Christmas horror movie since Gremlins, but I proclaimed it one of the best movies of 2010. Now I can just call it the best horror movie of 2010. If you need any other reasons why, then just read my review.
Honorable Mentions: Frozen, Birdemic
5) RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE
Alternate title: Paul W.S. Anderson Jerks Off with James Cameron's 3D Camera for 90 Minutes. This was the first Resident Evil movie I've ever seen. That in no way had any impact on my complete inability to comprehend what the hell was going on in this film. I don't even believe this was an actual movie. This was merely an excuse for Paul W.S. Anderson to recreate all his favorite moments from better movies in 3D. The only thing he didn't throw at the screen was a kitchen sink. I can only imagine how stupid this movie must look in 2D. After House of the Dead I declared "bullet time" officially dead; after this debacle I hereby declare Zach Snyder's special brand of hyper-stylized slow motion action officially uncool.
Having seen quite a few glowing reviews for this film, I can only assume one's ability to enjoy Altitude is predicated on one's ability to not hate the four lead characters and not roll one's eyes at the explanation behind it all and not sigh in disbelief at the “Stephen Spielberg’s Amazing Stories” ending. That twist ending might have actually worked if everything preceding it hadn't annoyed the hell out of me. I absolutely hated these characters, especially the idiot blonde guy, the most obnoxious character from any movie this year. Uncle Creepy told me before I saw Altitude that he hated the ending so much he threw the screener he was sent in the garbage immediately after watching it instead of sending it to me so that I wouldn't end up paying $10 buying a copy from Wal-Mart like I did. I called him up immediately after watching it for myself and told him I would mail him my copy if he'd throw it in the garbage for me.
3) VAMPIRES SUCK
Yes. Yes, they do. They really, really do. Zero knives, bitches!
2) MY SOUL TO TAKE
I still want to know how the blind kid found a rope hanging out of a bedroom window, a rope he wouldn't have had any clue was even there if he hadn't seen it with his own eyes. I still want to know why a slasher movie ended with characters standing around verbally explaining the proceedings as if it were the reveal at the end of an Agatha Christie novel. I want to know a lot of things about My Soul to Take. The thing I most want to know is what the hell was Wes Craven thinking? Craven cannibalized his own creations, Nightmare on Elm Street and Shocker, to create this dull mishmash about a back-from-the-grave, body-possessing, switchblade killer in what looked to be a papier-mâché Rob Zombie costume. So weirdly awful I actually found myself wanting to know where in the hell Craven was going with it. Then he got where he was going, and I realized he had just wasted 90 minutes of my life. This could be worst movie of Wes Craven’s career, and I say that as someone who paid to see Vampire in Brooklyn theatrically.
1) THE DESCENT: PART 2
I saw a lot of bad horror movies in the past 12 months but only one that truly pissed me off. If they'd just gone and made a classless cash-in sequel to my favorite horror movie of the past decade, I wouldn't have come away nearly as outraged. Instead they decided to make a direct sequel that rewrites both endings to the original and screws with the dynamics of the relationship between the two lead actresses which had already ended on a perfect note. This sequel is a cast of photogenic CW Network actors and actresses away from being what the original would have been like had it been produced by Dimension: over-reliance on gross-out visuals, dumb characters making unbelievably dumb decisions, amazingly well lit subterranean caves, monsters that get so much screen time they lose their proper effect, and an insulting twist ending to boot. They should have just marketed this as The Cave Part 2 as it was closer to that brainless dud than Neil Marshall’s monstrous masterpiece.
Dishonorable Mentions: A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Wolfman, Case 39, Night of the Demons, The Graves